Shreyas Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin guide India to 2-0 Test series win in Bangladesh
Bangladesh pushed India to the edge on Sunday morning at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, with their talented all-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz completing his five-wicket haul but the brilliance of India’s middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer and the steely Ravichandran Ashwin defied their advance, handing India a thrilling 3-wicket win in the second and final Test.
India thus completed a 2-0 series clean sweep of Bangladesh in what will always be remembered as the most competitive Test series between these two Asian sides, courtesy some ordinary cricket from the visiting Indians and true show of grit and determination by the Bangla tigers.
India needed 100 more runs on what was to be the final day of their tour and the Test series, while Bangladesh needed 6 more wickets to create history by beating the mighty neighbours for the first time ever in the longest format.
Bangladesh thought they had come close when they snapped three early wickets in the morning on Sunday but they ran into the pair of Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin, who added 71 runs unbeaten for the eighth wicket to guide India tour nervous but an important win.
India, who resumed their chase of 145 dim precariously placed at 45/4 at the start, soon lost their overnight batsmen Jaydev Unadkat and in quick succession, the likes of Rishabh Pant and Akshar Patel. Mehidy Hasan Miraz took the wickets of Rishabh Pant (9) and Akshar Patel (34) to complete his five wicket haul while Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan removed Jaydev Unadkat for a 16-ball 13.
It looked like Bangladesh would keep striking with wickets as India were struggling at 74/7 halfway through their chase but Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin staged a comeback with a resolute fightback with the bat.
The spin bowling all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin finished at 42 not out from 62 balls having hit four boundaries and a six, out of which two boundaries and the lone six came in the final over of the match off Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
A lot of praise has to be given to Indian middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer who was unfortunate on a couple of occasions in the series to have missed out on deserving centuries.
But on Sunday, he played a crucial knock of 29 not out from 46 balls with four boundaries to thwart the Bangladeshi spinners and threw them out of their plans which had already damaged the Indian team enough.
Mehdi Hasan Miraz returned with impressive numbers of 19-4-63-5 while Shakib Al Hasan sent down 14 overs to take 2/50. Taijul Islam, the left-arm spinner who had troubled Indian batsmen a lot throughout the series, finished without a wicket in the second innings.
For his scores of 90, 102*, 24 and 6 in the series, India’s No 3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was adjudged the Player of the Series while Ravichandran Ashwin, who took a total of 6 wickets and hit the winning runs for India was named the Player of the Match, an award which he said he wanted to share with Shreyas Iyer.
The Indian team will now return home to prepare for upcoming limited-overs series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, following which they will be hosting Australia for a four-match Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23.
Sri Lanka and New Zealand will play 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs each against India. The series against Sri Lanka will be held from January 3-15, 2023 while the series against New Zealand will be played from January 18-February 1, 2023.