Mominul takes the reins as the openers cheaply leave


After losing both openers in consecutive overs on the first day of the Mirpur Test against India, Bangladesh recovered to 82/2 by lunch thanks to an unbroken 43-run partnership between Mominul Haque and Shakib Al Hasan.

KL Rahul, the stand-in captain for India, was open enough to acknowledge he had no idea what to do on a greenish Mirpur track where his counterpart, Shakib al Hasan, chose to bat first. Rahul survived after receiving a knock to his hand in the nets on the eve of the game. Taskin Ahmed was expectedly added by the hosts, but India surprised everyone by making the difficult decision to bench Kuldeep Yadav, the Player of the Match on Test comeback from Chattogram, for Jaydev Unadkat's return to the Test match.

The Bangladesh openers handled the first half of the session well, even though it was laced with a good amount of luck. Shakib wanted his batsmen to bat through the first session conservatively before the wicket eased out for batting. The ball frequently beat the bat thanks to India's three-pronged speed attack, but the Bangladesh openers resisted. There were other edges that eluded the fielders, but Zakir Hasan provided one obvious opportunity. The teenage opener flicked uppishly a leg-stump half-volley from Umesh Yadav off the first ball he saw in the game, only for a running-in and diving Mohammed Siraj to smack it at fine leg. The pacer collapsed and grabbed his shoulder before rising up.

On the other side of the drinks interval, Unadkat, who had missed the second-highest number of matches (118) between his two outings for India, made his Test cricket debut. Zakir struggled to cut a ball of sufficient length because of the increased bounce and provided a straightforward catch for Rahul at fourth slip. After shouldering an Ashwin straight ball in the following over, Shanto was declared leg before wicket. The on-field judgement was upheld after the Bangladesh opener was reviewed and it was discovered that the ball had barely touched an off-stump.

Mominul Haque appeared reliable in the middle as the hosts rebuilt despite nine innings in a row with single-digit runs. He had a few of perfectly placed strokes in his 23* at lunch and was ready to react to anything overpitched or when the bowlers offered width. Meanwhile, Shakib demonstrated what he preached by moving up to position 4. He took on Ashiwn early in his knock by skipping down the track a few times, and he earned himself a four and a six in the over. If Rishabh Pant had not failed to stump the offie on a difficult leg-side opportunity just before the session's break, the offie might have gotten his comeuppance.


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