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Debutant Zakir hits ton for Bangladesh but India sniff win

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Chittagong, Bangladesh: India broke through tough resistance from Bangladesh including a century by Zakir Hasan on his debut to be within four wickets of victory on day four of the first Test on Saturday.

Set a colossal target of 513 runs in Chittagong, Bangladesh reached 272-6 at the close, still needing 241 runs, with skipper Shakib Al Hasan on 40 and Mehidy Hasan on nine.

Earlier opener Zakir put on a 124-run opening stand together with Najmul Hossain, a record against India, the pair having hung on in the final session of day three and to lunch on day four.

But in the second session, Umesh Yadav got the breakthrough and ended their stand when Najmul edged the ball into the slips.

Virat Kohli initially dropped it at first slip but wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant dived to his left to grab the deflection and Najmul departed for 67.

Axar Patel, who was the pick of India's bowlers on the fourth day with 3-50, soon grabbed India's second wicket bowling Yasir Ali for five.

Kuldeep Yadav removed danger man Liton Das for 19 before Zakir swept Axar for a four to bring up his debut Test hundred.

But Zakir, only the fourth Bangladeshi to achieve the feat, scored no more runs and fell for 100 in the final session when Ravichandran Ashwin made him his only wicket so far in the Test.

Zakir played a defensive shot but could manage only an inside edge, which took a deflection off his pad to Kohli at slip.

"I only tried to bat as long as possible since we were chasing a big total," Zakir said after his 224-ball ton with 13 fours and one six.

"I did not want to think 'this is a Test match', a bigger match. I tried to stay as normal as possible," he said.

Bangladesh collapsed further after his departure as Axar bowled Mushfiqur Rahim for 23 and had Nurul Hasan stumped for three.

"The discussion was clearly after the first session was the kind of be patient, we knew that the wicket would be easy," said India's bowling coach Paras Mhambrey.

India, who have never lost a Test to Bangladesh, put on 404 in the first innings thanks to 90 from Cheteshwar Pujara and 86 by Shreyas Iyer. In reply Bangladesh were all out for 140.

In the second innings Pujara was again India's rock, reaching 102 not out alongside Shubman Gill who made 110, allowing the visitors to declare on 258-2.

The two five-day games form part of the ICC World Test Championship. India are fourth behind Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka, having won six of their 12 matches.

Bangladesh are in last place with one win and one draw from their 10 matches. They have also not won a Test at home since February 2020. -- AFP

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