Mahmudullah’s Unbeaten 58 Takes B’desh to 202/5

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Hyderabad : India closed in on their eighth victory of the home season even as Mahmudullah Riyadh showed defiance with an unbeaten half-century, taking Bangladesh to 202 for five at lunch on the final day of the one-off Test here.

At the break, Bangladesh needed 257 runs to script an unlikely win and will be aiming to at least bat out 58 overs in two sessions and save the match.

Veteran Mahmudullah (58) played some attacking strokes in between a few loose ones, finding the fence seven times.

With two sessions left, the hosts would fancy wrapping up the match by taking the remaining five wickets in quick time.

The pitch is still good to bat on even though the turn on offer is comparatively more than the last four days.

Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim’s (23) undesirable shot selection would have frustrated the dressing room, as he was having a reasonably good partnership with Mahmudullah, which eventually yielded 56 runs.

Like Shakib Al Hasan’s indiscretion cost Bangladesh dearly in the first innings, Mushfiqur’s intent today was contrary to his risk-free approach in the first innings.

Some credit should be given to Ravichandran Ashwin (3/63), who cleverly altered the length after quickly realising that both the Bangladeshi batsmen were using their feet to good effect.

Mushfiqur gave Ashwin the charge but failed to reach to the pitch of the delivery while trying to hit with the turn.

The ball ballooned up and Jadeja, standing at mid-off, back-pedalled a few steps to complete the formality.

As Cheteshwar Pujara had indicated yesterday, the cracks had indeed opened up a bit and Ravindra Jadeja (2/58) reaped the benefits.

The left-arm spinner landed one on the rough that spun and jumped with Shakib (22) awkwardly fending it to Pujara at forward short leg.

Mahmudullah survived an anxious first half hour during which Umesh Yadav had squared him up, but he managed to get a streaky boundary.

A top-edged boundary off Jadeja was followed by two exquisite strokes – an inside out shot through covers and a swat to the cow corner off the next.

A square cut off Yadav showed why he is rated among the best stroke-players in Bangladesh.

He completed his half-century off 115 balls with his sixth boundary that flew through the vacant slip cordon off Yadav’s bowling. And he reasserted himself with a square cut in the next over.