Tigers fight back but Aus on top | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:14 AM, September 07, 2017

Tigers fight back but Aus on top

A better approach and an attacking mindset on the third day after a rather defensive attitude the previous day saw Bangladesh stage a recovery in the second Test, although Australia were still well ahead when stumps were drawn at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.

With a lead of 72 runs on the board and their last pair remaining at the crease, Australia will definitely feel they have the upper hand when Bangladesh come out to bat for the second time as the Tigers have never been at their best in their second essay.

Bangladesh did manage to take seven wickets in the rain-affected third day, where the first session was completely washed out and only 54 overs were played, after Australia resumed on 225 for two.

But it was David Warner who grabbed everyone's attention after resuming on 88. The left-hander was stuck on 99 for 15 deliveries before dispatching a full toss from Nasir Hossain and unleashing his signature celebration for his 20th Test century, and second on the trot.

It was the left-hander's slowest Test century by a quite a margin. He took 209 balls to reach the landmark, handily eclipsing the previous 154 balls he had taken to bring up a ton against India in Adelaide in 2014.

He also became the sixth Australian -- after Bob Simpson, Allan Border, Damien Martyn, Mike Hussey (twice), and Michael Clarke -- to hit back-to-back Test hundreds in Asia.

However Warner will probably blame himself for the dismissal of his partner Peter Handscomb, who began the day on 69. Australia's vice-captain called for a single before denying Handscomb, who could not make up the ground before Shakib Al Hasan's throw ricocheted off the stumps. The right-hander walked back after a solid knock of 82 runs from 144 balls as the 152-run third-wicket stand was broken.

The home side were desperate to seize the momentum after but dropped catches would become a feature of the day, starting with Mehedi Hasan fumbling a rather straightforward chance at gully off Mustafizur Rahman to give Glen Maxwell a reprieve.

At the other end Warner was looking to stretch his hundred into an even bigger score, but Mustafizur, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, looked charged up and continuously hit the deck with aggression before finally reaping his reward.

He scalped the Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper when Warner mistimed a pull and hit it straight to gully where Imrul Kayes, on his third attempt, held onto a sharp catch. The southpaw departed after scoring a magnificent 123 off 234 balls, a knock that featured seven fours. 

However, Bangladesh continued to be haunted by dropped catches and again it was Mehedi, this time off his own bowling, who failed to grab onto a forcefully hit shot from Hilton Cartwright on six. The off-spinner redeemed himself by removing the batsman for 22 after Soumya Sarkar took a catch at slip as Australia went for tea on 321 for five.

In the last session, Bangladesh claimed four wickets for 56 runs through the efforts of Mustafizur, Mehedi and Shakib.

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade was first to go as the score became 342 for six, trapped in front by a full, incoming delivery from Mustafizur. Wade reviewed the decision, but replays showed that it was a pretty straightforward dismissal.

Four runs later Maxwell was dismissed by a diving catch from keeper Mushfiqur Rahim after the ball went off his bat and pad off Mehedi's bowling. Pat Cummins and Ashton Agar carried the score to 364 before Mehedi got one to turn back in sharply and hit an unsuspecting Cummins on the pads after the right-hander had shouldered arms. Nigel Llong turned down the appeal, but Mushfiqur quickly reviewed, and the ball was shown to be crashing into off stump. The decision was overturned, and Nasir added a bit of humour to proceedings as he mimicked the umpire and raised his finger alongside Llong.

More drama followed as Soumya dropped the sitter of sitters at slip when Agar edged Shakib with the score on 374 for eight. Fortunately for Bangladesh, Shakib produced a beautiful finger-spinner's delivery two runs later that drifted away from the left-handed Agar, invited the drive and spat straight through the gap to hit timber and leave Australia at 376 for nine. There was just one more over of action as the umpires decided it was too dark for play to continue. Mustafizur and Mehedi ended with three wickets each while Shakib and Taijul Islam grabbed one apiece.

The second Test will enter its climax when play resumes earlier on the fourth day, half-an-hour earlier than scheduled. For Bangladesh, it will be a test for their batsmen to step outside their comfort zone and deliver something extraordinary, while the visitors will want to stretch their lead to near the hundred mark and try to utilise a pitch which has already started to produce huge turn from the footmarks.

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