Till date, there have been only five instances of a team batting out the complete first day of a Test match without losing even a single wicket. All four occurrences barring India on 26th May 2007 feature opening pairs. But in 2007, Indian batsmen and Bangladeshi weather managed to pull off something special in the sapping Dhaka heat.
Bangladesh invite trouble
After a drawn first Test, Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar asked India to bat first after winning the toss in the second Test. Indian openers had not registered mammoth scores in the first Test, in fact, Wasim Jaffer was out for consecutive ducks.
This time, however, the Indian openers began with caution. They played the first session without much fuss and returned to the pavilion for lunch with 67 runs on the board. Post-lunch, Jaffer brought up his fifty and his partner Dinesh Karthik also gained tempo. Surviving a close caught-behind appeal, Karthik sped up his run-making in the second session and brought up his half-century in process.
At tea, India were in complete control with the score of 175/0. However, the heat and humidity took a toll on Karthik. The batsman was in no condition to continue batting. After the tea break, Rahul Dravid joined Jaffer at the crease. This pair continued dominating the Bangla bowlers and brought up a 50-run partnership in just 65 balls. Jaffer completed his fourth Test ton and was batting fluently till the second drinks break.
After battling out 77 overs, Jaffer could take no more and he too decided to retire ill. Now, Sachin Tendulkar came out to bat and joined Dravid. India finished the astonishing day on 326/0 with Dravid batting on 88. This was a record for most runs on the first day of a Test without losing any wickets. South Africa later bettered it with 405 runs against the same opponents.
On the second day, Dravid notched up a Test ton in 144 balls. India’s legendary duo completed their 100-run partnership as the opening partnership continued. At drinks in the first session, Dravid-Tendulkar were in contention of breaking the all-time opening partnership record of 413 runs held by Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy. However, Mohammad Rafique dismissed Dravid for 129 thus taking India’s first wicket on 408.
Karthik reappeared on the field after Dravid’s fall and he too went on to complete his Test century. He also got out on the same score as that of Dravid. By tea on the second day, Tendulkar also added himself to the list of centurions. With the completion of this ton, India’s innings became the only instance of all top four scoring a century in Test cricket. It remains this way to date.
— ICC (@ICC) May 26, 2016
India declared on 651/3 with Tendulkar (122) and MS Dhoni (51) unbeaten on the crease. Zaheer Khan’s 5/34 wrecked the Bangladeshi batting unit as they finished with only 118 runs on the board. Indian bowlers shared spoils in the follow-on innings and wrapped up the series with an innings and 239 runs victory.
India 610/3 decl. (W Jaffer 138 retired ill, D Karthik 129, R Dravid 129, S Tendulkar 122*; M Rafique 2 for 181) beat Bangladesh 118 (Z Khan 5/34) & 253 (M Mortaza 70, M Ashraful 67; R Powar 3/33) by an innings and 239 runs.