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Bangladesh cricketer Soumya Sarkar reacts after scoring a half century (50 runs) during the first one day international (ODI) cricket match between Bangladesh and India at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on June 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

Bangladesh post their best total against India

WT24 Desk

A rapid 102-run opening partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar formed the centerpiece of Bangladesh’s 307, their highest total against India in ODIs. The hosts lost four wickets either side of a rain break and endured a middle-order meltdown, but Shakib Al Hasan’s fifty coupled with late contributions from Nasir Hossain and Mashrafe Mortza hauled Bangladesh to their second 300-plus score in four games.

India’s seamers sprayed the ball on the pads, which formed the theme of the early part of the innings. However, R Ashwin struck thrice in four overs to lead an Indian comeback, after which Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar built on Ashwin’s controlled performance, giving away only 35 while picking up four wickets in the last five overs.

In rare sunlight after some bleak weather, Tamim and Sarkar set to work immediately after Mushfiqur Rahim chose to bat, launching a relentless onslaught on the Indian bowlers. Bangladesh soared past 100 off only 79 balls; their fastest against a top-eight team. Tamim raced down the track to the fifth ball of the match, and though he inside-edged it towards fine leg, he had signaled Bangladesh’s intent. They weren’t going to hold back.

Tamim found his groove quickly, hitting three fours and a six off Umesh Yadav in the sixth over. The first one was edged but did not carry to Shikhar Dhawan at wide first slip, the second was lashed over point, the next pulled powerfully before the over ended with a belt over covers as Tamim briefly tore open the portal to the 2007 World Cup. From 10 off 16, he had sprinted to 28 off 22 balls, Bangladesh to 45 for 0 in six overs.

Bhuvneshwar, returning to the team after playing only one game in the World Cup, did not find swing nor did he get any movement off the pitch. So did Umesh as the openers forced MS Dhoni to bring on his lead spinner – Ashwin – as early as the eighth over.

Sarkar gave Ashwin a rude welcome, clattering a brace of boundaries before going down the track and launching Mohit Sharma’s first ball over midwicket. Dhoni then came up to the stumps to prevent Tamim from leaving his crease. Tamim was hardly perturbed as he camped back in the crease and lofted the next ball over mid-off.

Sarkar soon outpaced Tamim, raising his fifty and Bangladesh’s 100 with a nifty ramp over Dhoni’s head. Two balls later, the pair was separated by some indecision between the wickets, Raina swooping in and nailing a direct hit at the non-strikers’ end to cut short Sarkar’s promising innings at 54.

Tamim reached a fifty too before a drizzle grew heavier, resulting in a delay of about an hour. It catalysed a shift in momentum with Ashwin striking thrice in four overs after the resumption. He was helped by some injudicious shot selection too as Tamim and Rahim skipped down when the run-rate was hovering just over six. They did not meet the pitch and holed out to the deep while Litton Das, the debutant, was trapped lbw.

Ashwin had an able ally in Suresh Raina who settled into an asphyxiating rhythm, wheeling through his overs in an uninterrupted spell, which read: 10-0-40-0. Sabbir, though, combined well with Shakib and repaired the dents. They maneuvered the ball into the gaps and kept the scorecard ticking before kicking to a higher gear. They assembled 83 runs in 14.2 overs before Ravindra Jadeja bowled Sabbir for 41 off 44 balls in the 38th over with a signature flat darter.

Shakib could have also been dismissed on 38 had Jadeja held onto a tough return catch. Shakib would add 14 more before he was snaffled by Jadeja at backward point off Umesh. It wasn’t to be Jadeja’s only contribution on the field. Two overs later, he took a sharp catch to end Nasir’s cameo. Mortaza struck a few boundaries but Bangladesh were reined in after the opening salvo.

Interviewed at the innings break, Shakib said that Bangladesh were 25 runs short, ESPN cricinfo.com reports.

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