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IND vs BAN: Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer save the day for India | Cricket

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When the bowlers are getting on top, the target is looking tall and the conditions are tough for batting, India have a simple solution — ask Rishabh Pant to step up.

On the second day of the second Test at Mirpur, it was just the kind of setting that brings the best out of the left-hander. India had lost their top three batters with just 72 on the board, the Bangladesh spinners, led by left-arm bowler Taijul Islam, were spinning a web around the visitors on a helpful pitch when he walked in. In the first over after lunch, it became 94 for four with Virat Kohli walking back to the pavilion too.

The Bangladesh total of 227 was suddenly looking far more daunting than it had any right to. The challenge, though, flicked a switch in Pant and that spelled the end of the domination of Bangladesh’s spinners for the rest of the second session.

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In Shreyas Iyer, he had the ideal partner. Both like to take an aggressive approach and on the day, it paid off. In a thrilling counterattack, Pant and Iyer put on an entertaining partnership of 159 runs for the fifth wicket.

Pant’s 93 (104 balls; 7 fours, 5 sixes) and Iyer’s 87 (105 balls, 10 fours, 2 sixes) were invaluable after the Indian top order failed to do anything substantial against Taijul Islam’s penetrative bowling (four wickets for 74) in the morning session.

It was the decisive period of play in the game. Looking at the way the pitch has played, coming back into this game would have been difficult for the team batting fourth. And more importantly for India, a defeat in the second Test would have been a massive blow to their World Test Championship ambitions too. But Pant and Iyer’s heroics ensured India hold the aces in the second Test after taking a handy 83-run lead.

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