Zaheer Khan has called on his batsmen to complement the fine work of the bowlers and build the foundations for victory in the first Test in Chittagong. Zaheer took three wickets as Bangladesh were bowled out for 242, one short of India's first-innings score yesterday. The visitors had extended that lead to 123 by the close of play on day three, with Virender Sehwag the lone casualty. "There's still a lot of play left in the match," said Zaheer. "Weather permitting, there are two days left So we are looking to bat well in the first two sessions to post a big total. Then we can think of winning the match." India could have established a bigger lead after Bangladesh were reduced to 98 for six in the first session, but Zaheer lacked support from the other end. The left-arm paceman, however, praised the efforts of his fellow bowlers. "It was really a good effort from the bowlers," he said. "The plan was to bowl in the right areas and be patient. The pitch definitely helped the bowlers early on with the moisture due to the fog but it became better and better for the batsmen. So, it was a very good performance from the bowlers. "It is good to see Ishant Sharma bowling well. He was bowling in the right areas most of the time. It must have boosted his confidence. Sreesanth was initially not finding his rhythm, but later he got it and he bowled well." Mahmudullah was the architect of Bangladesh's recovery as he battled to a Test-best of 69 from No 8. He helped add 108 runs for the seventh wicket with Mushfiqur Rahim before the hosts lost their last four wickets for 36 runs. The first six wickets had fallen in the space of 45 runs.
Mahmudullah later revealed his admiration for the India captain, MS Dhoni, and said: "Dhoni is my role model. It is not that I imitate his batting, but I want to bat like him. India are only leading by 123 runs. If we get early wickets, we can get a positive result. "There is not as much turn in the wicket as it was on the first day. On this wicket, a target of 270-280 and even 300 is chaseable." Dhoni is sitting out of this game due to a back spasm, but is expected to return for the second Test, which starts January 24 in Dhaka, along with Harbhajan Singh, who missed the game with a stiff neck. "Dhoni is fast improving from his injury," said Arshad Ayub, the team manager. "He batted and bowled at the nets. Harbhajan has recovered 80-85 per cent and in a couple of days he would be fully all right." Meanwhile, India's new bowling coach, Eric Simons, has warned against expecting any quick fixes in his six-week tenure. "My job is just for six weeks," said the former South African coach. "Two series is very short time and not enough to make impact on the players. After my stint, if a bowler says I have helped him in some way, helped him with ideas, I would be happy. "It would be arrogant for me to come in, for a South African, and tell the Indian bowlers how to bowl. I see the Indian bowlers as a technically talented unit. Maybe the problems, if any, are from a lack of confidence from playing lots of ODIs. "I don't know if I will continue longer or be associated in a cricket academy or any other job. I have to sit with the management to understand the vision forward. I am sure they are looking at someone for the long term. If my association is a bit longer I can think of other things." firstname.lastname@example.org
India 243 Bangladesh (first innings, overnight 59-3): T Iqbal b Khan 31 I Kayes lbw Khan 23 S Nafees c Laxman b Sharma 4 M Ashraful c Dravid b Sharma 2 R Hasan c Karthik b Sreesanth 17 S Al Hasan c Sehwag b Khan 17 M Rahim c Sehwag b Mishra 44 M Mahmudullah c Karthik b Sreesanth 69 S Hossain c Yuvraj b Mishra 11 S Islam c Yuvraj b Mishra 6 Rubel Hossain not out 0 Extras: (4b, 1lb, 1w, 12nb) 18 Total: (all out, 65.2 overs) 242 Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-58, 3-58, 4-68, 5-89, 6-98, 7-206, 8-228, 9-235, 10-242 Bowling: Z Khan 20-4-54-3 (1w) S Sreesanth 11-1-55-2 (7nb) I Sharma 13-3-47-2 A Mishra 16.2-2-66-3 (5nb) Y Sngh 5-1-15-0. India (second innings): G Gambhir batting 47 V Sehwag c R Hasan b S Al Hasan 45 A Mishra batting 24 Extras: (5lb, 1nb) 6 Total (1 wicket, 22.2 overs) 122 FoW: 1-90 Bowling: S Islam 6-0-35-0 S Hossain 5-0-13-0 R Hossain 2-0-20-0 S Al Hasan 6.2-0-28-1 Mahmudullah 2-0-12-0 M Ashraful 1-0-9-0