Rahul hails Iyer as India keep WTC final hopes alive

Iyer and Ashwin forged an unbroken 71-run stand to frustrate Bangladesh and pull off a thrilling victory for the tourists

By Reuters

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India's Shreyas Iyer (right) celebrates with teammate Ravichandran Ashwin after winning the second Test. — AFP
India's Shreyas Iyer (right) celebrates with teammate Ravichandran Ashwin after winning the second Test. — AFP

Published: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 6:10 PM

India's stand-in captain KL Rahul heaped praise on middle order batsman Shreyas Iyer after their thrilling victory in the second Test against Bangladesh while home captain Shakib Al Hasan was left to rue missed opportunities.

Chasing 145 for victory on a turning track, India slumped to 74-7 in Sunday's morning session, seemingly hurtling towards what would have been their first Test defeat by Bangladesh.

However, Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin then forged an unbroken 71-run stand to frustrate Bangladesh and pull off a thrilling victory for the tourists.

The thrilling victory also boosted India's chances of qualifying for the final of the ICC World Test Championship.

The Indian team (58.93 points percentage) are currently in second spot behind leaders Australia (76.92 points percentage) in the points table.

South Africa (54.55), Sri Lanka (53.33) and England (46.97) are in the third, fourth and fifth places currently.

Ashwin was adjudged player of the match for his 42 not out and six-wicket haul, but Rahul singled out 28-year-old Iyer for special praise after his unbeaten 29.

"The way he batted today was phenomenal. He made it look really easy," Rahul told reporters after the nervy three-wicket victory sealed the series 2-0.

Rahul, leading the side in absence of injured skipper Rohit Sharma, added: "There was a lot of pressure, there was a little bit of panic in the dressing room, but it didn't look like there was any panic when we were watching Shreyas bat."

Mehidy Hasan (5-63) and Shakib (2-50) wreaked havoc with the ball, but Iyer gave a spin masterclass to secure India's victory.

Iyer finished the series with 202 runs from three innings, behind team mate Cheteshwar Pujara's 222 from four.

Ashwin had been given a reprieve on one, when Mominul Haque spilled a catch at short leg. That proved a costly mistake in the end, but the hosts had also missed four chances in India's first innings.

"It is slightly disappointing, as other teams don't miss the chances that we are missing," said Bangladesh captain Shakib.

"Those made the difference. We could have bowled them out for 250 instead of 314 (in the first innings). There was a chance in the second innings (too) ... maybe it happens due to lack of concentration or fitness."

Resuming on 45-4 on day four of the contest, the touring side needed 100 runs to sweep the series and boost their chances of making the final of the World Test Championship.


Their crisis only deepened, and they slumped to 74-7 after Shakib Al Hasan sent back Jaydev Unadkat and after Mehidy Hasan removed Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel (34).

Ashwin could have been back in the hut too but Mominul Haque spilled a catch at short leg when the batsman was on one.

It proved a costly mistake as Ashwin went on to make 42 not out, forging a match-winning 71-run partnership with Iyer, who remained unbeaten on 29.

The duo absorbed pressure and batted resolutely to maintain India's unbeaten Test record against Bangladesh.

Ashwin hit Mehidy for a six to bring India close to the target and then smashed successive boundaries to seal victory in the morning session.

"There's always a belief that someone will put their hands up and do the job," stand-in India captain KL Rahul said.

"But it's also human to get nervous and have some nerves in the dressing room, and I'm not going to lie and say that there was no nerves in the dressing room and that everything was calm."

"We never thought it was going to be a cakewalk. We always knew it was going to be difficult and we had to really grind and work hard for those runs."

Brief scores

Bangladesh first innings 227 all out. India first innings 314 all out. Bangladesh second innings 231 all out (Liton Das 73, Zakir Hasan 51, Taskin Ahmed 31 not out, Nurul Hasan 31; Axar Patel 3-68, Mohammed Siraj 2-41, Ravichandran Ashwin 2-61). India second innings (target 145) 145/7 (Ravichandran Ashwin 42 not out, Axar Patel 34, Shreyas Iyer 29 not out; Mehidy 5-63, Shakib 2-50)

Result: India won the second Test by seven wickets to clinch the series 2-0.

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