Subcontinent’s first pink-ball Test
The recently concluded Test match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata witnessed what was the first-ever day-night Test in the subcontinent. It was the first for both India and Bangladesh. With this, now Afghanistan and Ireland remain the only Test sides to still play the day-night version of Test cricket.
Ishant comes to the party
Ishant Sharma claimed only the second five-wicket haul of his Test career at home. The last occasion he claimed a fifer in India was nearly 12 years ago at Bengaluru in December 2007, which incidentally was the last Test match played by both India and Pakistan against each other. He was just 19 years old then and was playing in his second Test. Now, at the age of 31, he achieved this while playing in his 96th Test match! Overall, he now has 10 five-wicket hauls in his career. Ishant Sharma’s nine wickets in the match are his best match figures in a home Test. Previously, on two occasions, he had taken seven wickets in a match.
Opening day blues
On the opening day of the Test, Bangladesh were dismissed for 106 in just 30.3 overs. This is now the lowest total and the lowest number of overs faced by any visiting side in India while batting first on the opening day of a Test.
Test cricket’s most prolific captain
On the opening day, Virat Kohli (when on 32), became the sixth Test player to reach 5000 runs as a captain. By reaching the tally in just 86 innings, he became the captain to do so in the fewest number of innings in Tests.
Kohli’s customary Test century
On the second day, Kohli registered his customary Test century - the 27th of his career.
- It was his second hundred at Eden Gardens, after his unbeaten 104 in the previous Test innings here against Sri Lanka in November 2017
- It was his 20th Test hundred as captain, with only South Africa’s Graeme Smith having more centuries (25) as a Test skipper
- Fewest innings to 27 Test hundreds: in 70 innings by Don Bradman (Australia), in 141 by Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli
- It was Kohli’s 70th century in international cricket in just 438 innings and now, only Tendulkar (100 in 782 innings) and Ricky Ponting (71 in 668 innings) have more in international cricket
Captain’s batting pair
Mominul Haque became only the second player from Bangladesh to bag a pair while captaining the side after Habibul Bashar who did so against Zimbabwe at Harare in February 2004. Mominul, meanwhile, also became the first-ever opponent captain to bag a pair against India.
Umesh – the pacer for home conditions
Playing in his 45th match, Umesh Yadav (5/53) registered only the third five-wicket haul of his Test career. This is his first five-wicket haul in the second innings of a Test. With this, Umesh now has 33 Test wickets in his last five Test matches at home since October 2018.
Seventh successive Test win
The Kolkata success was India’s seventh successive win, the best victory sequence in their cricket history. This winning sequence began with the Antigua Test match in August 2019. The details are given below:
v West Indies (away) - August-September 2019 - won 2 (2)
v South Africa (home) - October 2019 - won 3 (3)
v Bangladesh (home) - November 2019 - won 2 (2)
India’s previous best sequence of six successive Test wins came from February 2013 to November 2013, all at home (four against Australia and two against the West Indies).
Four successive Test wins by an innings
India, meanwhile, have now become the first side in Test cricket history to secure four successive Test victories by an innings. This also means that Kohli is the first Test player to achieve this as captain.
Eden Gardens, now the venue where Indian pacers dominate
This Test was only the second time an Indian spinner has failed to claim a single wicket in a home Test. All 19 Bangladesh wickets that fell in this match went to Indian pacers. The only other time when Indian pace bowlers dominated a home Test was also at Eden Gardens, two years ago, when all 17 Sri Lankan wickets fell to Indian pacers.
Indian bowlers in the last two Test matches at Eden Gardens, Kolkata:
Pace: 164.5 overs, 577 runs, 36 wickets, average: 16.02, strike rate: 27.4, 5 wicket-hauls: 2
Spin: 17.0 overs, 53 runs, 0 wickets
Paradigm shift – from spin to pace
Never before in the history of Indian cricket have pacers dominated a Test series at home like they did here. The pacemen claimed 33 wickets as opposed to five by spinners. That means 86.84% of the wickets fell to pace, which is now the highest percentage for India in home conditions, albeit in a two-match Test series. The previous best performance came 85 years ago in 1933/34 when Indian pacers claimed 33 wickets to just six by spinners against Douglas Jardine’s England. The pace percentage then was 84.61 and coincidentally, that three-match series was the first to be played on Indian soil! Just to put this in perspective, last January 2018, Indian pacers in South Africa had claimed 87.72% of the wickets that fell to bowlers – 50 to pace and just seven to spin – their most productive Test series, percentage-wise, home or away!
Shortest Test matches in India
Only 968 balls were bowled by both sides in the Kolkata Test, the fewest ever bowled in any Test in India that had a result.
Postscript: For the first time in Test cricket history, 13 players (from Bangladesh) had a bat in a Test match. And Bangladesh’s Taijul Islam became the first substitute to bat and bowl in the same Test match!