Cheteshwar Pujara hit his first century since January 2019 and Shubman Gill reached his first Test century as India strengthened their grip on the first Test in Chattogram, declaring 258/2 on Friday. Bangladesh was 42/0 at the end of Day 3’s play, still needing 471 runs to win against all odds. Despite Bangladesh’s encouraging end, India still has six sessions to cruise to what should be an easy victory.

Bangladesh added just 17 runs to their starting total of 133/8 for the day when Kuldeep Yadav caught Ebadot Hossain on the leg side in the fifth over of the day to seal his third five-wicket haul. Mehidy Hasan Miraz led Bangladesh’s opposition for a further seven overs when he skipped down the track to attack Axar Patel but was caught while doing so.

Despite having a commanding 254-run advantage, India chose not to enforce the follow-on. It’s hardly a secret that certain hitters were overdue for runs, but it was probably done to give the quick bowlers a break. Gill and Pujara were two of them, both for quite different reasons.

Pujara’s career is nearing its end. However, if you go back and look at Gill’s statistics (30.47 average in 11 Tests before this) and the fact that he has only reached the 90s once before (at Gabba in that epic chase of 2021), you might wonder if Gill was being dishonest to take advantage of opportunities that should have gone his way. To feel it, you don’t have to go very far. Gill was in great form in the first innings until he foolishly attempted a paddle sweep so soon that the slip had time to turn and go toward the leg side.

This time, Gill made sure to clear the first hundred, which is usually the most difficult goal for any batter to achieve. “From my perspective, the first Test century was long overdue. After the day’s play was over, Gill addressed the announcers and said, “Today, it was all about getting the challenging scenario out of the way.

In the first World Test Championship final, Chattogram wasn’t Gabba or Southampton, but Gill had shown excellent effort against a top-notch New Zealand seam attack in cloudy circumstances. The ground had softened, and Bangladesh was deflated. But the ball needed to be struck with a bat and runs needed to be scored. And Gill accomplished it as cleanly as he could while mindful that, although Rohit Sharma is still there, this hundred may not yet catapult him to a permanent opener’s role, but would undoubtedly be positive for India’s future as they go toward another changeover.