Bangladesh battle for survival in India Test
India's bowlers led by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin tightened the noose Sunday on Bangladesh, who face an uphill battle for survival on a final-day track in the one-off Test in Hyderabad.
Chasing a daunting 459 for victory, the visitors were precariously placed on 103 for three at stumps on day four. Mahmudullah on nine and Shakib Al Hasan on 21 were the crease.
Ashwin, who became the fastest bowler to claim 250 Test wickets during Bangladesh's first innings, struck twice in the visitors' chase to take his wickets tally to 252 in his 45th match.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja chipped in to dismiss a fighting Soumya Sarkar for 42 and end his 60-run stand second-wicket stand with Mominul Haque.
Haque (27) himself went four runs later. The left-right batting combination of Mahmudullah and Shakib then put on 28 runs to play out the rest of the session.
India need just seven wickets to seal the Test while the visitors must score another 356 to win -- or bat out three more sessions to save the match.
"Hoping to get those seven wickets as early as possible," said Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, whose unbeaten 54 helped the hosts declare their second innings on 159-4.
"I think the ball has started turning now. Probably the wicket is slightly on the slower side, but at the same time it has opened up and there should be more assistance for the spinners tomorrow," Pujara told reporters.
India, who did not enforce the follow-on after bowling out Bangladesh for 388, lost two early wickets but Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli (38) put on 67.
Shakib's left-arm spin checked India's surge with two wickets including that of Kohli, who gave a catch to mid-wicket in his search for boundaries.
But Pujara kept on carting the bowlers to all parts of the ground, smashing six fours and a six during his 58-ball stay.
Earlier Ashwin had raced to the 250th scalp of his career after dismissing Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim for 127 -- the final wicket of the innings.
Ashwin, the world's top-ranked Test bowler, surpassed Australia's legendary paceman Dennis Lillee, who took 48 matches to reach the same mark.
Rahim had led Bangladesh's resistance for nearly three sessions before falling foul of 30-year-old Ashwin, who has so far claimed 59 wickets in the current season.
"Probably he is the toughest spinner when it comes to any opposition team... many teams are planning on how they are going to face Ashwin," said Pujara.
Bangladesh batting coach Thilan Samaraweera also praised Ashwin's "variation and skill-set", but called for a concerted effort against a top-quality bowling attack.
"It's not just one batsman but we as a group have to build a 50s, 60s partnership and then see (how it goes) from the lunchtime," said the former Sri Lanka batsman.
"We have to get through the first hour and stay cool in the dressing room as well."
Ninth-ranked Bangladesh, who have never won a Test against India, are playing their first Test on Indian soil since gaining five-day status in 2000.