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BAN vs IND 2022-23, 1st Test: Gill, Pujara smash centuries, India leads by 472 on Day 2, fans delighted

BAN vs IND 2022-23: India is in the driver's seat in the opening Chittagong Test. On Day 2 on Friday, Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara hammered centuries each, with the Indians leading by 472 runs.

BAN vs IND 2022-23, Chittagong/1st Test: Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara smash centuries, India leads by 472 on Day 2 against Bangladesh, fans delighted-ayh
First Published Dec 16, 2022, 5:37 PM IST

Young Indian opener Shubman Gill scored his maiden Test century, while veteran top-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara ended a four-year wait for his 19th hundred. India set Bangladesh a stiff victory target of 513 runs on the third day of the series-opener at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Friday. For the second day in succession, Bangladesh was completely outplayed as chinaman-spinner Kuldeep Yadav's career-best 5/40 helped India dismiss the hosts for a paltry 150. With nearly three days at its disposal and a lead of 254, India captain KL Rahul decided against enforcing the follow-on, as Gill (110) and Pujara (102 not out) took full advantage of a toothless Bangladesh attack that also missed its lead pacer Ebadot Hossain due to a back injury.

When Pujara exorcised the ghosts of the last four years with the completion of his fastest Test hundred, skipper Rahul declared the Indian second innings closed at 258/2. At stumps, Bangladesh was at 42/0 loss on a track where a lot of balls are indeed keeping low, but the pitch hasn't shown considerable wear and tear. The hosts still require 471 runs to win the match.

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However, to bat for 180 overs over two days will be an improbable task for the Bangladesh batting line-up against the Indian bowling line-up. Stand-in skipper Rahul, who holed out at the fine leg boundary off a well-laid short ball trap by Khaled Ahmed (1/52 in 13 overs), would rue that he missed a chance to get a big score under his belt.

However, Gill, blessed with the gift of exquisite timing, pounced on a depleted Bangladesh attack, hitting ten boundaries and three sixes -- one off pacer Khaled and one each of Litton's part-time spin and Mehidy Hasan Miraz after reaching his three-figure mark. Gill's attacking batting also allowed Pujara to take his time at the beginning. He accelerated towards the back-end of the Indian innings, with 13 boundaries to show for his efforts.

But there could be no debate about which innings would be rated higher in aesthetics. It certainly would be a 23-year-old Punjab man, who, at times, would give a languid vibe in his effortless strokeplay. Gill used the sweep to good effect against the off-spin of Miraz and the reverse sweep against the left-arm spin of Taijul.

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Gill repeatedly descended the track to loft the spinners and disturbed their length. He converted a lot of good length balls into half-volleys, while any width from pacers or deliveries drifting down the leg side was also met with utter disdain. Gill, however, would consider himself lucky, as he was twice convicted leg-before by the on-field umpires, but Decision Review System (DRS) ruled it not out. Another time when Bangladesh went for review, the DRS didn't work.

Buoyed by his 90 in the first innings, Pujara was a picture of supreme confidence. This Bangladesh attack never had the money to dismiss him with no scoreboard pressure on India. While his first 50 came off 87 balls, he raced to his next 50 in just 43 balls, answering anyone questioning his intent. If the first 50 runs had five fours, the second was laced with eight boundaries as he added 113 runs for the second wicket with Gill.

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The relief was palpable when he hit Taijul for a boundary and got a warm hug from Virat Kohli (19 not out) at the other end. With a lot of deliveries starting to keep low, the spin troika of Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep and Axar Patel will be eager to come out on the fourth and fifth days to ensure full 12 World Test Championship points for the team.

Najmul Hossain Shanto (25 batting) and Zakir Hasan (17 batting) have given an improved account of themselves in Bangladesh's second essay. At the start of the day, Kuldeep completed his third five-wicket haul when Ebadot (17)'s 37-ball vigil ended. Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant smartly snapped his faint tickle down the leg side. Mehidy (25 batting) fought doggedly and played the maximum number of balls (82) but had little support at other end before he became Patel's only victim of the innings.

(With inputs from PTI)

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