Bangladesh won by 5 wickets (with 4 balls remaining)
Tamim Iqbal and Jahurul Islam ensured Bangladesh were only one down at the halfway mark of their chase, but the asking-rate had started to climb to worrisome levels. Tamim again displayed his recent penchant for buckling down to play a long innings while Jahurul picked up the scoring after a slow start. Backed up by a substantial score, India’s bowlers kept up the pressure on the partnership.
Bangladesh needed a good start in a must-win game for them but, after a few quiet overs upfront, Nazimuddin tried to force Praveen Kumar over midwicket only to top-edge a catch. Jahurul arrived and took nine deliveries to get off the mark, finally managing to flay Praveen through midwicket for four.
Tamim did most of the scoring during that period, caressing and punching Irfan Pathan for boundaries. Jahurul soon got the confidence to chip Rohit Sharma for six just wide of long-on. Tamim and Jahurul kept getting the odd boundary but could not really dominate, leaving India a wicket away from exerting more pressure with the asking-rate approaching seven-and-a-half runs per over.
50 overs India 289 for 5 (Tendulkar 114, Kohli 66, Raina 51) v Bangladesh
Virat Kohli swivels into a pull, Bangladesh v India, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 16, 2012
Virat Kohli looked set to become the first India batsman to score three consecutive ODI hundreds until he played on for a breezy 66 © AFP
Matches: Bangladesh v India at Dhaka
Series/Tournaments: Asia Cup
Teams: Bangladesh | India
After a year of hype and expectation, it was destined that Sachin Tendulkar would get his hundredth international century against and in the country where he had equalled Sunil Gavaskar’s then-record 34 Test centuries in 2004 on way to his highest Test score. It wasn’t one of Tendulkar’s better hundreds and will be remembered only for being the one that brought up the unprecedented landmark. In fact, it was his second-slowest innings of 100-plus in ODIs.
India ended up on 289 for 5, an underwhelming outcome considering their power-packed batting line-up had had a platform of 173 for 1 in the 36th over.
Bangladesh’s attack was persevering but limited. Tendulkar duly milked them to finally go past a landmark that hardly anyone knew existed before he got close to it, but put tremendous pressure on the player himself in a frenzied build-up that lasted a year.
Tendulkar had motored to 80 off 102 deliveries but took another 36 before he took his hundredth run, off Shakib Al Hasan. The celebration after the achievement was understated, with Tendulkar gazing at his bat for some time before looking up towards the sky.
The monkey off his back, he belatedly took charge, hitting consecutive boundaries off Shahadat Hossain before a slog ended up in the keeper’s hands. Tendulkar’s departure came immediately after Suresh Raina’s brisk innings had ended after having kept India going amid his senior partner’s quest for the century. Raina hit 51 off 38, his knock evidence of his stroke-making abilities, as well as his inability to tackle the short delivery effectively.
Raina built on a 148-run second-wicket partnership between Tendulkar and Kohli, who looked set to become the first India batsman to score three consecutive ODI hundreds until he played on for a breezy 66.
The hosts should have had Kohli first ball in the sixth over, when Shafiul Islam struck him on the back leg in front of middle stump with an incoming delivery, but umpire Paul Reiffel remained unmoved. Kohli’s form took over after that, and with Tendulkar batting as safely as he does during some of his long Test innings, India motored along without giving Bangladesh half a chance more.
Bangladesh had themselves to blame for allowing Tendulkar to settle with a generous sprinkling of wide deliveries from their fast bowlers. His first four scoring shots were all boundaries, as he cashed in on width to drive and punch through the off side.
Shafiul did have Gautam Gambhir playing on early off a forcing flat-footed drive, but Kohli did not take long to get going after his reprieve. The field hardly moved as he flicked and cover-drove for fours in consecutive overs.
Spin was expected to be a major factor on a dry-looking pitch but Tendulkar and Kohli negotiated Bangladesh’s slow army without any problems. The scoring-rate did take a slight beating as singles dominated but Tendulkar soon found the freedom to slog-sweep Shakib Al Hasan over wide long-on. With his feet moving precisely now, he made room to cart Shakib inside-out over extra cover to reach his first international fifty in 13 innings.
As Kohli pummelled Nasir Hossain past extra cover, Bangladesh would surely have had memories of the mammoth chase that India set them during their last meeting, on this ground in the opening game of the 2011 World Cup.
But India were to end up well short of the 370 they scored in that game, Tendulkar taking his time amid some nerves as he passed 80. After having contemptuously worked his way to another fifty, Kohli inside-edged Abdur Razzak on to his stumps.
Raina arrived and a three-ball passage summed up his game. He swivelled, hopped and awkwardly pulled a short Shahadat delivery to fine leg, cracked the next delivery, a full one, between extra cover and mid-off for four, and then again swivelled awkwardly and missed a pull to another short ball. His slog-sweeps and lofted shots over extra cover kept the runs coming, though, but Tendulkar was clearly feeling the pressure at the other end.
He played out a maiden to Mashrafe Mortaza on 83, and on several occasions, took off for non-existent singles before being sent back. The century arrived in the 44th over, and Tendulkar’s relief was evident.
With the innings in need of a final burst, MS Dhoni slammed 16 off the 50th over to get India to a score that should still prove difficult for Bangladesh on a slow pitch.
The worry for Bangladesh is that a lot of their chief weapons fired in the tournament opener, Pakistan played below par, yet Bangladesh still lost. Their two world-class batsmen – Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan – got half-centuries, their rising star Nasir Hossain made a substantial contribution, and their left-arm spinners were miserly. There was even the bonus of a three-wicket burst from one of their medium-pacers. There is still room for improvement, of course, but Bangladesh’s tendency in recent months has been to underperform rather than exceed expectations, and it is hard not to feel they have already produced their performance of the tournament.
India cannot afford to think that way, but even without Virender Sehwag around to call Bangladesh “ordinary”, they will be confident they can handle whatever the home team throws at them. The 2007 World Cup upset apart, India have been dominant against Bangladesh, their batsmen collecting plenty of runs against an attack suited to India’s strengths. The challenge for India, perhaps, will be to put in a tight performance with the ball and in the field, rather than just rely on their batsmen to outscore Bangladesh. They started the Commonwealth Bank series with some impressive performances in the field but a familiar profligacy and sloppiness set in as the tournament progressed. With a long stretch of subcontinent cricket ahead of them, India will be hoping their spinners can start exercising the same sort of control over the opposition as they did in the home series against England and West Indies last year.
(most recent first)
In the spotlight
Forget the hundredth hundred, Sachin Tendulkar was not even able to go past 50 in the CB series, and averages 18.62 in eight ODIs this year. That is the kind of poor form that should put any player under pressure to keep his place, even if it is Tendulkar. He did not look too tense at India’s optional training session on Wednesday, but cannot ignore his lean run of form. Weaker opposition and familiar conditions offer perhaps his best opportunity to get a big score. He has never scored an ODI hundred against Bangladesh and will want to change that so he can go in to the high-profile match against Pakistan with some confidence.
Mashrafe Mortaza’s four-wicket haul against India in the 2007 World Cup remains one of the most memorable performances by a Bangladesh bowler in an ODI. Unfortunately, Mortaza’s career has not quite followed the trajectory many though it would after that game, with a slew of injuries keeping him out of action for long periods. His latest comeback, at the age of 28, could be one of his last opportunities to contribute to Bangladesh cricket. He started well against Pakistan, giving away just 13 runs in a five-over first spell, but was taken apart by Umar Gul at the death.
Pitch and conditions
The pitches in Mirpur have been better for batting in the evenings, but the first two matches have been won by the team batting first. The slowness of the pitch in the afternoon did have its effect on India’s innings against Sri Lanka, though, with Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli looking to work the ball around rather than score boundaries. The dew in the evening may also affect the Bangladesh spinners, and with India having proved recently that they can chase pretty much anything, MS Dhoni may be tempted to deviate from his bat-first policy.
After Ravindra Jadeja’s poor performance in India’s first match, Yusuf Pathan may get an opportunity in the second. India may also consider bringing in Rahul Sharma for either R Vinay Kumar or Praveen Kumar, who were both expensive against Sri Lanka, but Dhoni has always preferred having three medium-pacers in the side. Manoj Tiwary still awaits his opportunity after scoring a century in the last ODI he played for India, but it is hard to see who could replace in the XI. Rohit Sharma did not get an opportunity in the first game, Suresh Raina showed signs of returning to form and Virat Kohli will not want to miss a game being in the form he is in.
India (probable): 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 MS Dhoni, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Irfan Pathan, 9 R Ashwin, 10 R Vinay Kumar, 11 Praveen Kumar
Mushfiqur Rahim defended the decision to play just six specialist batsmen against Pakistan, so will probably go in with the same strategy.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Nazimuddin, 2 Tamim Iqbal, 3 Jahurul Islam, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Abdur Razzak, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Shahadat Hossain
Stats and Trivia
Virat Kohli averages 152.00 in four ODIs against Bangladesh, with two centuries. He has the opportunity to become the first India batsman, and the fifth overall, to score hundreds in three consecutive ODIs
Though MS Dhoni has received criticism for his Test performances, in ODIs, since the World Cup, he averages 99.85 in 16 innings, with nine not outs helping his average
“The spinners have struggled so far, but they have to try and do a better job. If they’re trying hard, I’m happy.”
Mushfiqur Rahim knows the slow bowlers are his main weapon
“Australian tracks were really good for the seamers because of the extra bounce, but here [in the subcontinent] compared to other countries you have to mix it up more, bowl slower balls and use variations.”
R Vinay Kumar is aware India need to adapt their game quickly after three months in Australia
Edited by Tariq Engineer