For the second time in three days, Indian batsmen succumbed to the Bangladesh bowlers. Uthappa and Rahane started struggling straightaway and except for the first-over four off Mashrafe Mortaza, Uthappa just couldn’t get going. Rahane too found the scoring difficult and yielded a maiden over to Al-Amin Hossain. It was a pitiful sight to watch the belligerent Uthappa being strangely kept quiet by the Bangladesh opening spell. Probably the batting performance of the second ODI played in his mind. The way the Indian openers played, they made the Bangla bowlers look like Lillie and Thompson. On the penultimate ball of the fifth over, Mashrafe Mortaza induced Uthappa into a drive. Uthappa heaved without getting to the pitch of the ball and only managed an outside edge to the rising delivery that flew to the second slip. Nasir Hossain was only too happy to accept a chest high catch. Rahane probably wanted to emulate the great play by Robin Uthappa in the previous over, therefore in the next over from Al-Amin, he tried to play a shortish ball in a manner nearly identical to Uthappa’s and allowed the ball to take the outside edge. Yet again, the grateful Nasir Hossain took a chest high catch in the second slip.
With openers gone by the 6th over and only 10 runs appearing on the board, a new set of batmen waited for the Bangladesh dangerous looking bowlers. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ambati Rayudu are otherwise classy batsmen but they came to the crease in the wake of the first ODI batting heroes. Pujara is a good test match batsman, who is yet to adapt himself to the requirements of limited-over cricket. He believes in playing on and on and one hopes he does not draw inspiration from Sunil Gavaskar. The little master once opened for India in a 60-over world cup match against England in 1975 and remained unbeaten at 36, when the innings ended, by which time Gavaskar had personally faced 174 balls. In Mirpur yesterday, India could only reach 13/2 at the end of 8 overs and Pujara had faced 12 balls for his 3 runs. The 9th over was Taskin Ahmed’s first in his second ODI and he removed Rayudu with his very first ball. The third Indian batsman fell caught behind to a horrible edged-shot on a short delivery. There are critics in cricket press, who kept blaming the Mirpur pitch but if the batsmen themselves have decided to commit hara-kiri, what can anyone do? Taskin Ahmed couldn’t finish his over since rains came in torrents. When the covers went off the pitch, Ahmed bowled the remaining balls and yielded just a single to Manoj Tiwary. But Tiwary fell to Al-Amin in the 10th over in much the same way as Uthappa, Rahane and Rayudu. At the end of 10 overs, India’s score was a woeful 17/4. While Pujara was still hanging around for 3 off 18 balls, Suresh Raina cut loose in the 12th over to collect 16 runs off Al-Amin. This was to be the only over of any substance in the India innings. Ahmed came for the 13th over but after his 3 balls, the match was interrupted yet again as heavy showers lashed Mirpur. It was a long break lasting an eternity. When the match resumed again, the batsmen were still struggling. In the 19th over, Suresh Raina fell to another edged shot after a 23-ball 25. But the laborious Pujara had taken 42 balls for his 12 runs. In the 25th over, Wriddhiman Saha was bowled by Shakib-Al Hasan to distance himself from the breed of batsmen, who had all got out to needlessly flashy edges. After 26 overs India were 90/6 with Pujara on 27 off 62 balls. But in the next over Pujara’s pedestrian innings ended, when he fell LBW to Shakib-Al Hasan. New man Akshar Patel also added his name to those falling to edged shots as India were reduced to 97/8 at the end of over no. 28. Among the dismal Indian batting performance, Stuart Binny held his own and he was 25 not out in 34 balls in India’s 34-over score of 119/9, when rains came again.
Though the match had to be abandoned, when it became obvious that further play was impossible, India’s poor show with the bat rankled. It was better than the last ODI but that one didn’t get highlighted as India pulled of an incredible victory. India won the series 2-0 but their third ODI batting performance was one of the worst in recent times.
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