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Gambhir puts India in charge

2010-01-20 14:26

Chittagong - India grabbed two early wickets to put themselves in a commanding position in the first Test against Bangladesh on Wednesday after Gautam Gambhir achieved a rare feat for the tourists.

Bangladesh face a stiff task to save the Test as they struggled to 67/2 in their second innings at stumps on the penultimate day in Chittagong while chasing an unlikely 415-run victory target.

Only four teams have chased more than 400 in the fourth innings to win a Test.

Opener Tamim Iqbal was unbeaten on 23 at close with Mohammad Ashraful on 16.

Indian paceman Zaheer Khan had Imrul Kayes caught behind in his second over before Ishant Sharma dismissed Shahriar Nafees (21), with stand-in captain Virender Sehwag taking a low catch at gully.

Nafees failed to make the most of the chance he got on five when he was dropped by Venkatsai Laxman at second slip off Zaheer.

Left-handed opener Gambhir (116) earlier became the fourth batsman to smash a century in five successive Tests as India declared their second innings at 413/8 shortly after tea.

Australian Don Bradman holds the world record of making hundreds in six consecutive Tests. South African Jacques Kallis and Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf are the others to have made centuries in five consecutive Tests.

India added 291 to their overnight total of 122-1, with Gambhir, Laxman (69 not out) and nightwatchman Amit Mishra (50) the main contributors.

Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan finished with 7-174, the best by a Bangladeshi bowler against India in a Test.

Gambhir completed his hundred in style, hoisting Shakib over long on for a six. He also hit 10 fours in his 129-ball knock.

His last four centuries came against New Zealand (at Napier and Wellington) and Sri Lanka (at Ahmedabad and Kanpur) in 2009.

Gambhir fell cutting debutant seamer Shafiul Islam to Nafees at third man a few overs after reaching his ninth Test hundred in 28 matches.

India lost Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh in the afternoon session, but Laxman kept his end intact for more than two hours to boost his team's total.

Tendulkar, who scored a century in the first innings, was trapped leg-before by seamer Rubel Hossain after making 16.

Yuvraj (25), who looked uncomfortable against short-pitched bowling on a few occasions, fell to a loose shot when he uppishly drove paceman Shahadat Hossain to Ashraful at short cover.

The morning session belonged to Gambhir and Mishra, who put on 98 for the second wicket. Mishra hit six fours in his maiden half-century.

Gambhir rarely looked in trouble against Bangladesh's pace-spin combination, playing handsome strokes while adding 69 to his overnight score of 47.

Bangladesh had a chance to dismiss Gambhir on 55 but Kayes dropped a sharp chance at forward short-leg off Shakib.

AFP