Chittagong: A brilliant ton by Gautam Gambhir put India in the driver’s seat against Bangladesh as the hosts were left struggling at 67/2 at stumps on Day 4, still needing another 348 runs to win.
The visitors started the day from their overnight score of 122/1 and went on to declare the innings at a mammoth 413/8, thanks largely to centurion Gautam Gambhir (116) and half-tons from VVS Laxman (69 not out) and Amit Mishra (50). For Bangladesh, skipper Shakib Al Hassan and Mahmudullah took two wickets each.
Chasing a target of 415 to win, Bangladesh suffered a couple of blows before stumps as Imrul Kayes (1) and Shahriar Nafees (21) were removed by Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma respectively.
Gautam Gambhir slammed yet another half-ton in Test cricket soon after play started on the fourth day.
The batsman, however, got a reprieve soon after as he was dropped by Imrul Kayes at short-leg off the bowling of Shakib-Al-Hasan.
Amit Mishra, at the other end, was also looking in good touch as the duo powered India past the 150-run mark.
After scoring his first half-ton in Test cricket and adding 98 runs with Gambhir to help India get off to a solid star, Mishra was sent back to the pavilion by Mahmudullah.
Mishra holed out to Tamim Iqbal as he charged down the wicket and tried to clear mid-off but mistimed the shot.
A little while later, after scoring a brilliant ton, Gautam Gambhir holed out to Shahriar Nafis off the bowling of Shafiul Islam as India looked to step on the gas and pile on the runs before setting a competitive target for Bangladesh.
Gambhir departed for 116 as he attempted a cut off a short and wide delivery but miscued it to third man, where Nafis made no mistake.
Soon after, the visitors received another blow as Rahul Dravid was run-out while attempting a quick single. Dravid’s 24 included 3 boundaries.
Despite losing the wickets of Mishra, Gambhir and Dravid in the morning session, India went in to lunch comfortably placed at 259/4, leading by 260 runs.
The visitors lost another wicket in the form of Sachin Tendulkar soon after play commenced in the post-lunch session. Tendulkar, who scored 16 including 2 boundaries, was trapped plumb in front of the wickets by Rubel Hossain.
Laxman and Yuvraj Singh took the score past the 300-run mark. Yuvraj, who came in at the fall of Tendulkar’s wicket scored swiftly.
Yuvraj became the sixth Indian wicket to fall as he miscued a drive to short cover where Mohammad Ashraful made no mistake. Yuvraj made 25.
Karthik became the next casualty as he departed brilliantly caught by Hossain at mid-off off Mahmudullah for 27
India went into the tea break at 384/7 with an overall lead of 385. VVS Laxman was batting on 51 while Zaheer Khan was unbeaten on 17.
Zaheer Khan was the last batsman to depart in the Indian innings as he was cleaned up by Shakib Al Hasan for 20.
India declared their second innings at 413/8 a few minutes after tea and left Bangladesh a humungous task of chasing 415 to win the Chittagong Test.
Zaheer Khan provided India an early breakthrough as he sent back Imrul Kayes for just 1 in the third over of the Bangladesh second innings. The hosts lost Kayes with just 8 runs on the board.
Ishant Sharma provided India another crucial breakthrough in the form of Shahriar Nafees to reduce the home team to 47/2.
Nafees was caught by Virender Sehwag at gully for 21 after he fended at a shortish delivery just outside the off stump.
Bangladesh crossed the 50-run mark even as they lost 2 wickets in the process.