Dhaka: Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer held their collective nerve to help India clinch a three-wicket victory against Bangladesh in the second cricket Test on Sunday.
They shared 71 runs with a mix of caution and aggression in an extremely turning wicket after Bangladesh closed in on a historical victory, reducing India to 74-7.
Ashwin was unbeaten on 42 off 62, a knock which included four fours and one six with Iyer on 29 off 46 with four boundaries as India raced to the victory target of 145-7 on the first session on day four.
Ashwin, who also took six wickets in the match, including 4-71 in the first innings, fittingly hit a boundary through mid-on against offspinner Mehidy Hasan to ensure the victory and finally helped the side sweep the two-match Test series. The visitors won the first test by 188 runs.
India earlier lost the three-match ODI series 2-1.
“We’ve played enough cricket to realise that someone will put their hand up to win us the game,” India captain K.L. Rahul said.
“But I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of tension in the dressing room. It was a tough wicket to bat on, they put us under pressure in both innings. It was a matter of who plays the new ball better. We did lose a few more wickets than ideal (in the chase) but we got the job done.”
After India resumed at 45-4 on tricky surface, Bangladesh, which started this year with a landmark test win on New Zealand soil, was highly favored to end the year with another victory against a high profile team.
’Credit goes to Shreyas and Ashwin, they absorbed the pressure well and built a partnership,” Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan said.
“We had 70-odd runs to play with, just needed one wicket. We can think of several ifs and buts, but I’m proud of the way we fought. We had our moments this year but hopefully, next year will be much better for Bangladesh.”
And the home side got the success in just the second over of the day, with captain Shakib Al Hasan (2-50) trapping Jaydev Unadkat leg-before for 13.
Mehidy who took 5-67 for his ninth five-for in test cricket then brought Bangladesh closer to a victory, striking twice in his successive two overs.
He rattled the stump of Axar Patel for 34, with a delivery that turned viciously and had Rishbah Pant, the highest scorer for India in the first innings, leg-before for just 9.
But Ashwin and Iyer refused to give up. They took the disciplined Bangladesh spin attack to precision and most importantly held the nerve.
Ashwin could have gone for just 1 had Mominul Haque not put down a catch at short leg of a delivery of Mehidy.
He and Iyer then played smartly to take the side to victory.
The win helped India move to second position behind Australia in the World Test Championship points table.
Bangladesh was all out for 227 in its first innings, after opting to bat first. India however racked up 314 to take an 87-run lead. The home side batted poorly again to be bowled out for 231 in the second innings, setting India a 145-run target to win the game.