By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Chittagong : The first India-Bangladesh cricket Test ended in a predictable and tame draw after over two days of playing time was lost to weather in the five-day match.
Eventually, the two captains agreed to call off play after 28 of the 43 scheduled overs were bowled in Bangladesh's second innings, which was stopped at 104 for two wickets.
India captain Rahul Dravid had set Bangladesh a difficult target of 250 in 43 overs at a rate of 5.81 runs per over. As expected, the home side made no attempt to chase the target though there was some entertaining batting by Javed Omar, who remained unbeaten on 52 (82 balls, 8x4s, 1×6) along with Rajin Saleh (7).
India, who won the toss, had scored 387 for eight declared and 100 for six declared while Bangladesh had scored 238 in their first innings.
India and Bangladesh have now played four Tests and this was the first drawn encounter between them – India have won the rest.
It was Bangladesh's only fifth draw in 45 Test matches since their debut in 2000. They have won only one match so far.
Bangladesh pace spearhead Mashrafe Mortaza was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round performance. He bagged five wickets and scored a vital 79 that helped prevent a follow-on.
But the match will be remembered for the amount of time lost to the weather in this port city. A total of 15 hours and eight minutes of play could not be held despite the best efforts of the hard-working ground staff at the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium.
After being given the tough target, Bangladesh in their second innings lost Shahriar Nafees for a solitary run when left-arm pacer Rudra Pratap Singh induced an edge from the out-of-form batsman for wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to take the catch.
Captain Habibul Bashar (37, 49 balls, 6x4s) was edgy initially, but after a few tentative shots he hung on to the crease for over an hour.
Omar, the other opener, looked in fine touch and he scored briskly. He mostly got his runs through boundaries, chiefly on the leg side.
He was lucky also as off-spinner Ramesh Powar put down a catch of his own bowling when he was on 32. Bangladesh were on 62 for one.
Bashar also survived a scare when he was dropped by Rudra Pratap Singh at mid-wicket off Powar. He was at 31 then in the team total of 75 for one.
But after adding six more to his score Bashar succumbed to the same bowler-catcher combination. Rudra Pratap Singh took the catch close to the place where he had dropped him earlier.
Omar carried on and duly completed his seventh half-century in his 36th match.
Earlier, India started the day at 44 for two, with Sachin Tendulkar batting on 24 and Dinesh Karthik on 15. India had an overnight lead of 193, including the first innings advantage of 149.
India scored 56 runs in 10 overs after poor ground conditions meant that play began three hours and 50 minutes behind schedule.
Karthik (22, 43 balls, 2x4s) was the first to be dismissed as he tried to pull Mortaza to square leg, but only managed to scoop the ball to Nafees to take an easy catch. The third wicket partnership between him and Tendulkar was worth 54 runs.
Tendulkar was also looking for some quick runs, and he got out trying to sweep left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique. The ball took an inside edge of his bat on way to the stumps. He scored 31 (50 balls, 2x4s).
Ganguly (13) and Powar (6) were out soon after. And when Dravid declared the innings, two hours and 20 minutes of scheduled play was left.
During the match the ground staff did a marvellous job of drying up the outfield that was badly affected by persistent rains. They also brought on and removed the heavy pitch covers many times over the five days.
The second and final Test starts in Dhaka Friday.
India had earlier won One-Day International series 2-0.
Day 5, First Test, India vs. Bangladesh, Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium, Chittagong
India (1st innings): 387 for eight wkts declared
Bangladesh (1st innings): 238
India (2nd innings, overnight 44/2):
Wasim Jaffer c Bashar b Hossain 0
Dinesh Karthik c Nafees b Mortaza 22
Rahul Dravid c Saleh b Hossain 2
Sachin Tendulkar b Rafique 31
Sourav Ganguly c Nafees b Rafique 13
Mahendra Singh Dhoni not out 17
Ramesh Powar st Mashud b Rafique 6
Zaheer Khan not out 2
Extras (leg bye 1, wides 2, no balls 4) 7
Total: (for six wickets declared in 24 overs) 100
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Jaffer, 0.3 overs), 2-6 (Dravid, 4.2), 3-60 (Karthik, 16.5), 4-64 (Tendulkar, 17.4), 5-78 (Ganguly, 21.2), 6-93 (Powar, 23.1)
Shahadat Hossain 7 3 30 2 (1w)
Mashrafe Mortaza 8 1 36 1 (3nb, 1w)
Mohammad Rafique 8 0 27 3
Enamul Haque (junior) 1 0 6 0 (1nb)
Bangladesh (2nd innings):
Javed Omar not out 52
Shahriar Nafees c Dhoni b R.P. Singh 1
Habibul Bashar c R.P. Singh b Powar 37
Rajin Saleh not out 7
Extras: (lb 6, nb 1) 7
Total: (for two wickets in 28 overs) 104
Fall of wickets: 1/12 (Nafees, 3.1 overs), 2/82 (Bashar, 20.2)
Zaheer Khan 7 0 24 0
Rudra Pratap Singh 6 0 29 1
Vikram Raj Vir Singh 5 1 22 0 (1nb)
Ramesh Powar 7 2 16 1
Sachin Tendulkar 3 0 7 0
Man of the Match: Mashrafe Mortaza (Bangladesh)
Umpires: Daryl Harper (Australia) and Billy Doctrove (West Indies)
TV umpire: Enamul Hoque Moni (Bangladesh)
Reserve umpire: Jahangir Alam (Bangladesh)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)