Bangladesh came out to bat knowing that they had a mountain to climb. The pitch was still good for batting and Bangladesh needed to take advantage of it before the pitch deteriorated. The top order had starts but none could make it count. Shakib and Mushfiqur initiated the fight back and after Shakib was dismissed, it was the captain Mushfiqur and youngster Miraz gave Bangladesh a reason to hope and cheer.
First Session –
Tamim and Mominul needed to start well in order to give Bangladesh a fighting chance to tackle down the mammoth total set by India. Both the batsmen started off watchfully. However, in the third over of the day, there was a huge mix-up between the batsmen in the middle leading to an amateurish run-out. Mominul flicked the ball behind and called for a run – the batsmen completed the first run but hesitated with the second leading to Tamim getting run-out.
Mahmudullah joined Mominul hoping to provide a big partnership despite being in poor form. He survived an initial scare as he was trapped in front of the stumps. The umpire did not give it out but the Indian camp reviewed it but in vain. It seemed like the batsmen were settling in before Umesh Yadav trapped Mominul plumb in front of the wicket. Bangladesh had lost their 3rd wicket for 62 runs – bringing the recent double centurion Shakib into the crease.
The pair batted beautifully giving hope to the Bangladeshi camp as they took Bangladesh score past 100. The Indian bowlers were able to extract reverse swing unlike the Bangladeshi bowlers and that lead to the wicket of Mahmudullah. He was adjusted leg before wicket but after a brief discussion with Shakib – claiming that the ball hit his thigh – asked for a review. However, the ball tracking showed the ball was clipping the stumps ending Mahmudullah’s innings at 28 runs. Bangladesh had lost their entire top order and they only managed to score 109 runs. A disastrous situation for the Bangladesh camp.
Shakib was then joined by the captain Mushfiqur. They pair had to do something special as they were the last 2 experienced batsmen in the team. They recently paired up in New Zealand to score a 300+ run partnership and hoped to replicate something like that in this game. The pitch was still good enough to bat, just needed the batsmen to apply themselves. With no further damage done, Bangladesh ended the first session at 125/4. The session surely belonged to India as they managed to pick up 3 top order batsmen.
Second Session –
Bangladesh needed their star players to put on a show here to have any chance of avoiding the follow-on. Shakib and Mushfiqur seemed well settled – the last thing the Bangladesh wanted them is to throw their wickets away. The pair started off extremely well with Shakib taking the odd risk and playing as an aggressor. It worked very well for Bangladesh as the score was ticking along nicely. Bangladesh quickly raced to 150 runs. Everything seemed perfect except for the running between the wickets. Mushfiqur responding late to Shakib’s call for a run almost caused his wicket as it was very tight. It was a 50/50 decision and for Mushfiqur’s sake, it went in his favour.
Both the Bangladeshi batsmen grew in confidence and was batting extremely well – except for their running – not in order today for some reason. Shakib was taking on the bowlers – anything outside the off stump was going for boundaries. The partnership was flourishing taking Bangladesh past 200 runs. Mushfiqur’s delightful cut shot raised away for a boundary bringing up the 100 runs partnership. Things were looking positive for Bangladesh but like always there had to be a twist.
Shakib was batting so beautifully and was looking towards scoring Bangladesh’s first century in the match, however, his attacking style of play lead to his downfall. Ashwin bowled a straighter delivery cramping Shakib for room as he tried to loft the ball over mid on but mistimed it giving the mid-on fielder an easy catch. A promising inning ending with a poor shot by Shakib – another one adding to his list. Big wicket for India as the pair was looking very good. Sabbir Rahman comes in at number 7 with Bangladesh still behind by 471 runs.
Bangladesh long way behind in this game and needed special innings from the remaining batsmen. Sabbir looked good and for the sake of Bangladesh, he needed to stay as long as possible with the captain. Unfortunately for Bangladesh, Sabbir missed a straight ball when he tried to sweep and was adjusted leg before wicket. Looked very straight forward, thus not reviewing it. Bangladesh reeling now at 235 for the loss of 6 wickets. Mehedi Hasan, who has not had a great time with the bat for the past few series joined his captain with a big responsibility on his young shoulder.
Bangladesh headed off for tea with 246/6. A decent session for Bangladesh but considering the match situation, the loss of Shakib and Sabbir in the session was a huge blow for Bangladesh. Bangladesh would require another 242 runs to get to 488 runs in order to avoid a follow-on as they currently trail by 447 runs. Huge ask for Mushfiqur and the lower order batsmen.
Third Session –
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehedi Hasan Miraz had one objective in their mind at the start of the third session – to survive as long as they can and if possible until the end of play. The pair slowly ticked along and took Bangladesh past 250 runs. They batted patiently to build up a partnership. Mushfiqur reached his 16th test 50 in 133 balls – top class effort from the captain – a patient knock. He has been assisted by Miraz brilliantly – the young man showing his batting capabilities.
The pair played some delightful shot and steadily got to their 50 runs partnership – at this point, the majority of the contribution came from Miraz whereas Mushfiqur was playing a patient game. As the partnership progressed, Bangladesh had reached 300 runs with a delightful cover drive from Miraz. It was all about controlling the innings – the pair did it brilliantly. The 19-year-old was showing his class as he smacked Ashwin for a boundary to get to his maiden half-century. The lad had a bright smile on his face after reaching the milestone – he almost took off his helmet before his captain reminded him the job has just begun and there is a long way to go.
Bangladesh now needed to survive one more over to make this a successful session. Ishant Sharma was given the ball to finish things off and perhaps get a breakthrough before the end of the day. Mushfiqur choped a short ball to get a boundary. The plan was clear from India to bowl short at him. The next ball was back of a length from Ishant that hit Mushfiqur’s bottom hand – he was down in serious pain. The magic spray was sprayed and he was ready to face the final 2 balls of the day. It was short again but this time the Mushfiqur was prepared and smashed it in the vacant area to get a boundary – making him the 4th Bangladeshi to get to 3,000 test runs. The last ball was short again but the batsmen left it alone to survive the day.
The final session has been Bangladesh’s session as they fought back hard by scoring 76runs without losing a wicket. The 87 run partnership had been a crucial one for Bangladesh, as the team now trails by 365 runs – still a lot of runs but in a much better position than where they were.
An exceptional fight at the end by the captain Mushfiqur Rahim and youngster Mehedi Hasan Miraz has given some hope to Bangladesh even though the team is a long way behind. Bangladesh will be hoping that the pair can continue with their stand tomorrow and bat as long as they can. A spirited fight for sure but the battle has just begun. The first session of Day 4 will be very important. Can the pair bat longer and add more runs? Hope they can, at least for Bangladesh’s sake.