When Gautam Gambhir pads up to bat in the second Test against Bangladesh, which starts in Dhaka from Sunday, there will be a buzz around him in the dressing room. Another century in that game will put the India opener level with Sir Don Bradman as the only batsmen to have scored hundreds in six consecutive Tests. Gambhir, however, is not looking beyond the ongoing match at Chittagong and hopes his ninth century in Test cricket will help India win the game and complete a dramatic turnaround after their first-day wobble. After becoming only the fourth batsmen in cricket history to score centuries in five consecutive Test matches when he made 116, he said: "Whenever I go out to play I want to think I am playing my last game for the country and score as many runs as possible.
"There is already a lot of pressure, why bring more by thinking of runs and records. I don't play for records. If they come my way, everybody is happy." Gambhir's century spree, which started with two hundreds in New Zealand in last March and then two at home against Sri Lanka, put him in a select club led by Bradman. South Africa's Jacques Kallis and Pakistan's Mohammed Yousuf have scored five. Early in his career though, Gambhir had struggled to covert flashy fifties into hundreds and had to wait four years for his second Test century. "I remember Viru [Virender Sehwag] once told me that I have to convert the fifties into hundreds if I want to be a good player," said Gambhir.
"I think my second century in Mohali [in October 2008 against Australia] was the turning point. After that whenever I go out to bat I always think that I have to convert the fifties into hundreds. That gives me the satisfaction." Gambhir's innings has put India in a commanding position, with Bangladesh facing the challenging task of batting out the final day or scoring 348 more runs to win. Set a target of 415 after India declared their second innings on 413-8, the hosts had lost two wickets for 67. Bangladesh have managed to score 200 or more in the fourth innings just three times, but their captain Shakib Al Hasan said: "We are looking to bat all day and we are looking to win." firstname.lastname@example.org
India 243 & (second innings, overnight 122-1): G Gambhir c Shahriar b Shafiul 116 V Sehwag c Raqibul b Shakib 45 A Mishra c Tamim b Mahmudullah 50 R Dravid run out 24 S Tendulkar lbw b Rubel 16 VVS Laxman not out 69 Y Singh c Ashraful b Shahadat 25 D Karthik c Rubel b Mahmudullah 27 Z Khan b Shakib 20 I Sharma not out 7 Extras (1b, 5lb, 3w, 5n) 14 Total (eight wickets declared; 87 overs) 413 Fall of wickets: 1-90, 2-188, 3-233, 4-245, 5-272, 6-313, 7-362, 8-394 Bowling: Shafiul 15-0-87-1 (1w) Shahadat 16-1-53-1 (1w) Rubel 15-0-94-1 (1w 5nb) Shakib 27-2-112-2 Mahmudullah 13-0-52-2 Ashraful 1-0-9-0. Bangladesh 242 & (second innings, target 415): T Iqbal not out 23 I Kayes c Karthik b Zaheer 1 S Nafees c Sehwag b Ishant 21 M Ashraful not out 16 Extras (4b, 1lb, 1nb) 6 Total (two wickets; 18 overs) 67 Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-47 Bowling: Zaheer 8-3-34-1 Sreesanth 5-0-11-0 (1nb) Ishant 4-1-7-1 Mishra 1-0-10-0.