Day 3: Mushfiqur, Shakib fifties lead Bangladesh’s resistance

India made light work of the Bangladesh top order before fifties from Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, and Mehedi Hasan Miraz hauled the visitors to 322 for 6 in reply to India’s 687. Bangladesh’s most experienced batsmen, Shakib and Mushfiqur, sparked the resistance with a 107-run partnership off 165 balls. Mushfiqur and Mehedi, who made his maiden half-century, then saw off the second new ball and stubbornly played out a wicketless post-tea session.

Glaring errors behind the stumps on the first two days had put Mushfiqur’s wicketkeeping in the spotlight. On the third afternoon, his running was in the spotlight, and he was frequently caught ball-watching early in his innings, but he overcame it to progress to an unbeaten 81.

When Shakib danced out and drilled R Ashwin to mid-off in the 50th over, Mushfiqur was late to respond to his partner’s call for a single. Ravindra Jadeja hunted the ball down and speared it to Wriddhiman Saha, who broke the bails. Mushfiqur had brought out a desperate full-length dive, but his bat had popped up in the air momentarily. The shoulder of the bat was seemingly on the line when the bail came off the groove. Chris Gaffney, the TV umpire, ultimately gave Mushfiqur the benefit of the doubt. He was on 18 at that point.

Mushfiqur then accumulated with sweeps while Shakib reached his maiden Test half-century against India off 69 balls. The scorecard will say Shakib hit 14 boundaries, but it was a chancy innings throughout. He repeatedly drove away from the body against the seamers and often drove out of the footmarks against the spinners. The century stand ended when Shakib skipped out and heedlessly dragged a catch against the spin to mid-on.

It was a repeat of his fateful shot against Mitchell Santner on the fifth day in Wellington in January when the Test was on the line. This time he gave Ashwin his 249th wicket in Tests. He was kept waiting for the 250th.

Mushfiqur Rahim brought out a variety of sweeps against the spinners © AFP

A sure-footed Mehedi took over from Shakib and ably complemented Mushfiqur’s patience. Mehedi claimed 51 of the unbroken 87-run stand for the seventh wicket after Jadeja had removed Sabbir Rahman ten minutes before tea.

Mehedi dared to club Ashwin over midwicket and even picked a carrom ball and drove it exquisitely through cover. He got to his fifty when he late-cut Ashwin for four in the penultimate over of the day. In the last over, Mushfiqur became the fourth Bangladesh player, after Habibul Bashar, Tamim Iqbal, and Shakib Al Hasan, to reach 3000 runs in Test cricket.

Things weren’t as rosy for Bangladesh in the morning session. Tamim fell in the third over of the day, taking on Umesh’s arm from the deep. A mix-up resulted in both Tamim and Mominul Haque stopping near the middle of the pitch while running a second. Umesh swooped in from long leg, attacked the ball, and fired a throw to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the bowler, who collected and under-armed adroitly onto the stumps.

In addition to being uncertain while running between the wickets, Mominul was uncertain outside his off stump. Virat Kohli reinforced the slip cordon and even posted a silly mid-on to apply more pressure. Mominul’s tentative stay ended on 12 when Umesh trapped him in front with reverse-swing.

Mahmudullah survived a tight lbw call on 6 off Bhuvneshwar with India’s review of Joel Wilson’s on-field not-out decision returning umpire’s call on leg stump. He managed to regroup to put on 45 with Shakib before Ishant Sharma had him lbw with an inswinger for 28. This time Wilson raised his finger, and Mahmudullah coaxed Shakib and reviewed only for ball-tracking to suggest it would have grazed leg stump.

Cricinfo

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