The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Team India manage skin-of-the-teeth win
- Tourists' attack donates 17 wides, 7 no balls
- Victory-vision in Mashud plunder

Chittagong: An indisciplined India allowed minnows Bangladesh to come too close for comfort before managing a lean, 11-run victory in the first ODI here Thursday.

Chasing 246, the hosts relied on a blistering unbeaten 50 by Khaled Mashud to stage a remarkable comeback before the Indians restricted them to 234 for eight to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The home team paid the price for launching the onslaught a little too late against an Indian attack which lacked discipline, sending down as many as 17 wides and seven no balls.

The visitors, recovering from a bad start, had the game under control before Mashud's 39-ball 50 very nearly turned the contest on its head with captain Habibul Bashar (65) being the other notable contributor.

India had posted a competitive 245 for eight, after a top-order collapse with half centuries from vice-captain Rahul Dravid (53) and Man of the Match Mohammed Kaif (80).

The Bangla reply was slow before wicketkeeper-batsman Mashud led the hosts' fight in the final stages as Bangladesh, needing 45 runs off the last two overs, plundered 33 to reach 234 for eight. Mashud hit four fours and a six as he shared two vital partnerships that took the team close to the Indian total.

He added 40 off 33 balls with Khaled Mahmud for the eighth wicket and then 34 off 16 balls with Tapash Baisya (7 n.o.) for the unfinished ninth wicket.

It was a fine comeback for Sridharan Sriram (having played his last one-dayer in Sharjah, 2000) who picked up three for 43 with his left-arm spin.

Before Mashud captain Bashar's lone battle yielded a composed 65, but ran out of partners. Even Mohammad Ashraful failed to live up to the high expectations, following his brilliant century in the second Test. But there was no meek capitulation like in the second innings of the second Test at the same venue earlier this week, the Bangla boys showing more grit.

Bashar himself was guilty of a reckless shot as he tried to heave and ended top-edging Sriram for a simple catch to Dravid at long-off. When Bashar crossed 42 he became the second Bangladeshi to cross the 1,000 mark in one-dayers.

The experiment of promoting Mohammed Rafique as an opener came a cropper.

Earlier, a well paced half-century from Kaif and some lusty hitting by the tailenders helped India blunt a spirited performance by Bangladesh. Dravid's and Kaif's contributions apart, there was support from Ajit Agarkar (25) and Irfan Pathan (21) in the closing stages.

Kaif (80) and Dravid (53) added 128 runs for the fourth wicket that lifted the Indian innings from 45 for three before Agarkar provided the late thrust with his 24-ball 25.

Pathan (21) rounded off the innings with an effortless six to square leg as 42 runs came in the last four overs.

Bashar's decision to field after winning the toss was vindicated with the pitch promising help for the seamers.

The big break came when Baisya had Sourav in the very second ball of the match.

Sachin (19) struck three boundaries but was finding the pitch difficult to read. After turning Nazmul Hossain from outside off to the square leg fence, he fell to the same bowler with an inside edge to Mashud. (PTI)

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