November 22, 2019 / 10:13 AM / 18 days ago

Cricket: India exploit Bangladesh's pink chink to lord in Kolkata

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Ishant Sharma and his pace colleagues wreaked havoc with the pink ball to put India in charge of their maiden day-night test against Bangladesh at a heaving Eden Gardens on Friday.

Cricket - India v Bangladesh - Second Test cricket match - Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India - November 22, 2019. Fans use the light on their mobile phones on the first day of India's second and final test against Bangladesh. REUTERS/Amlan Chakraborty

Armed with the heavily-lacquered ball, India’s three-pronged pace attack bundled out the tourists for 106 in front of a 60,000-strong crowd which included Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli then smashed fifties as India, 1-0 up heading into the second and final match of the two-test series, finished day one on 174-3, to be course for their 12th consecutive home series victory.

Kohli (59 not out) and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane (23 not out) will return on Saturday hoping to bat Bangladesh out of the second and final test and sweep the series.

Bangladesh, who were skittled out inside 31 overs, had to call two concussion substitutes after Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan sustained nasty blows to helmet.

Earlier, India’s pace trio took less than three hours to rout the tourists after Mominul Haque’s decision to bat backfired.

After the lull of the first six overs, Ishant drew first blood, trapping Imrul Kayes lbw en route to an impressive figures of 5-22.

New-ball partner Umesh Yadav (3-29) immediately benefited from a change of ends, dismissing Mominul and Mohammad Mithun in the same over to trigger a spectacular batting collapse.

Ishant attributed his success to his relaxed approach to the game after more than a decade in international cricket.

“I’ve reached that stage in life where I don’t entertain unnecessary worry about my career. That has been a big change,” said the 31-year-old.

“I’m enjoying my game a lot more and the healthy competition within the pace department has also helped me improve.”

India captain Virat Kohli had predicted close-in fielders would struggle to catch the harder, faster pink balls but his fears proved unfounded.

Rohit Sharma took a diving one-handed catch to sent back Mominul, Wriddhiman Saha flew to his right to cut short Mahmudullah’s stay and Cheteshwar Pujara dived forward to pouch a low catch to remove Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

Opener Shadman Islam topscored for Bangladesh with 29, while Liton retired hurt on 24 after being hit on the helmet by a Mohammed Shami delivery.

Mehidy came on as concussion substitute and Mithun replaced Liton behind the stumps when India came out to bat.

Bangladesh needed a second concussion substitute in Taijul Islam after Nayeem also sustained a hit on the helmet by another vicious Shami delivery.

Indian openers looked at ease against the pink ball but neither Mayank Agarwal (14) nor Rohit Sharma (21) could convert their starts.

Pujara and Kohli helped India eclipse Bangladesh’s paltry total with their 95-run stand.

A Tata Steel office building and an under-construction high-rise residential tower are illuminated in pink on the first day of the first day-night test cricket match between India and Bangladesh using pink balls, in Kolkata, India, November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

Pujara made 55 before edging Ebadot Hossain, who unfurled his second salute celebration, but Kohli went on to complete 5,000 runs as test captain.

“Their bowling attack is probably the leading bowling attack in the world,” Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo told reporters.

“They’ve put a lot of side under pressure with their discipline, pace and aggression... they are better than us at the moment, no doubt about that.”

Editing by Christian Radnedge

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