Iyer and Pujara rescue India innings after Bangladesh strike early blows in first Test

Visitors reach 278-6 on opening day in Chattogram on Wednesday

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Cheteshwar Pujara and Shreyas Iyer guided India to a strong 278-6 on the opening day of the first Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram on Wednesday after the hosts struck some early blows.

Pujara hit 90 while Iyer remained unbeaten on 82, with both riding their luck at times. Axar Patel was out on the last ball of the day for 14, trapped leg-before as the second of off-spinner Mehidy Hasan's two wickets.

Taijul Islam, the most successful bowler for Bangladesh with 3-84, bowled Pujara to end a dogged innings that featured 11 fours.

Pujara and Iyer combined in a 149-run stand for the fifth wicket to help the tourists overcome a top order failure.

India's decision to bat looked to have backfired after they slumped to 48-3 in the morning session with stand-in skipper KL Rahul and star batsman Virat Kohli both out early.

Bangladesh drew first blood inside the first hour, thanks to Yasir Ali's excellent anticipation. With no fielder behind the square, Shubman Gill (20) attempted a paddle sweep against left-arm spinner Islam only to scoop the ball behind him.

Yasir, standing at first slip and watching Gill shape up to play the shot, had enough time to run across to leg slip and take the catch.

Rahul made 22 before dragging an Ebadot Hussain delivery onto his leg stump, trying to hit the seamer through the off-side. Taijul then returned to remove Kohli who, trying to work the ball to the leg side, was beaten by turn and trapped plumb in front for just one.

Next man in Rishabh Pant decided to hit his way out of trouble. The left-hander stepped out to hit Islam over long-on boundary for a six to signal his intention and scored at a run-a-ball rate.

Islam had his revenge in the second session when Pant, after hitting the spinner's previous delivery for a six, dragged a ball onto his stumps to depart for 46.

Pujara and Iyer ensured India did not lose another wicket in the second session and lead their recovery with their risk-free accumulation of runs. Taijul denied Pujara his hundred and spun one past the bat and into the stumps.

There was another huge slice of luck for Iyer in the last session. Seamer Hussain found some movement to hit the stumps but to his dismay the bails did not dislodge, with Iyer on 77.

It could have been much worse for India if the Tigers had held on to their chances. Pujara was dropped on 12 by wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan, who also spilled an edge when Iyer attempted a cut shot against Shakib Al Hasan.

India's score is already looking challenging on a pitch where balls started to turn square and stay low on the opening day. Also, Bangladesh's pacers managed to get reverse swing, which will be good news for Indian quicks.

Updated: December 14, 2022, 12:43 PM