India’s complete dominance of this Test, and their home season, continued on the second day against Bangladesh in Hyderabad. They eventually reached 687 for six in their innings, becoming the first team to score in excess of 600 in three consecutive matches — in fact India have done so in three consecutive innings.
This hasn’t been an even contest between these two teams thus far, and an the same tired arguments about Bangladesh not being good enough for Test cricket could well have surfaced. But it is not only Bangladesh that have suffered in this way in India in recent times. India have not lost a Test match at home since December 2012, in that time they have drawn three matches and won 16 in games against Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and England. This match is not one-sided because of Bangladesh being bad, it is because India at home are near unbeatable, regardless of the opponent.
Virat Kohli began the day on 111 not out, and when he finally departed for 204 he had made his fourth Test match double hundred, all of them since July 2016. He has become the first player to make a double hundred in four successive Test series. His last five scores when he has passed a century have been 200, 211, 167, 235 and 204. The plus side for his opponents is that once he has passed 200 he averages just 12.5. Perhaps they should be thankful for that.
The simplicity of Kohli’s run scoring, and the briskness with which he does it, are mind-blowing. He is relentless when at the crease, with his fitness showing as he is still able to push the fielders with his running even after he has been batting for hours. The absence of any real celebration as he marches past landmarks is just the most obvious outward example of his drive. He just wants to score runs, and then landmarks flow from that.
Kohli was given out LBW on 180 but the ball was shown to be missing the leg stump when he reviewed it. His dismissal on 204 would also have been overturned if he had called for a review, the ball from Taijul Islam struck him outside the line off off stump, but by then Kohli had done his job. He played back and tried to cut and missed, it was understandable that he thought it was a fair enough call from the umpire.
It is all too easy to get carried away when watching a truly brilliant sportsman. The superlatives just keep pouring out to the point where they stop having meaning. But Kohli right now is breathtaking. A failure is a surprise, success is expected. No one will look at the scorecard of this innings and be shocked. Kohli scoring big runs is both an event and a non-story. It is just what he does. And he is still getting better. Just what he can end up achieving depends on his fitness and his desire, but as both of those are beyond reproach, watching his career unfold will be a joy.
Kohli had support from Ajinkya Rahane, who made an excellent 82 before he drove uppishly into the covers, and was well caught by Mehedi Hasan. Their stand of 222 was the joint third-highest for India against Bangladesh.
The pain for Bangladesh was not over when the batsmen who were not out overnight departed. There was a hundred from Wriddhiman Saha, his second in Tests, and an undefeated 60 from Ravindra Jadeja. The evening session was like a small boy torturing ants with a magnifying glass as India batted on until there was just an hour of play left on the second day.
As ever, the declaration came later than some would have hoped for, but if India are planning on batting just once their tactic of making as many as they could against a tired and demoralised attack made sense. And of course, cricket loves round numbers so they had to hang around for a while for Saha to reach triple figures.
This pitch has shown brief moments of life, especially for the Bangladeshi spinners who got the odd ball to turn and some to keep low, but by and large it is still a very good batting surface. Batting is by far the strongest of the Bangladeshi suits, so they will be hopeful of at least making India work for a win. They are far more likely to make the hosts toil for success in these conditions than England did or Australia will.
With this series being a one-off Test, you would hope that Kohli will carry on attacking and look to take wickets. With the runs to play with, he can leave catchers in in the hope of bowling out Bangladesh and enforcing the follow on. However, the early signs of the Bangladesh innings saw him look to both attack and defend with the seamers rather than go for a balls out approach.
It took for the introduction of Umesh Yadav with his extra pace to find a breakthrough when he found the inside of Soumya Sarkar’s bat. The umpire missed it, but Kohli didn’t and the wicket was given on review. Perhaps Kohli should start umpiring as well, be seems to be doing everything else to perfection right now.
Bangladesh end the day trailing India by a gut-wrenching 646 runs. They will need to still be batting in their first innings at the close of play on Saturday if they stand any chance of securing a draw. The chance of a win passed them by long ago.