For the second time in two Tests, the Bangladesh cricket team finds itself going into the last day with a chance of victory. In Multan, the calculation was simple; take four wickets before the opposition scores another 113 runs. In Dhaka, the fifth day presents many possibilities in what should be an intriguing day’s cricket.
At the close of play on Day 4, Bangladesh lead by 153 runs with 4 wickets remaining. The situation could have been better had Umpire Ashoka De Silva not made a blunder towards the end of the day’s play, adjudging Javed Omar LBW to a ball that had come off a clear inside edge before hitting the batsman’s pad. But even despite the umpire’s antics, the Bangladeshi cricketers can be proud of the situation they find themselves in. After ending the first day at 24 for 2 after a fifteen-minute shower halted play for over four hours, the team was quickly in trouble on the second morning. Steve Harmison exploited every bit of help he could get from the pitch and the heavy overhead conditions to have Bangladesh reeling at 40 for 4. Thoughts of a collapse and a below 100 score must have crossed every Bangladeshi fan’s mind, but the team was not going to give up so soon. The team scored 203 in the end, thanks largely to the vigilant innings’ of Khaled Mashud, who registered his first Test fifty and Mushfiqur Rahman, and a brilliant cameo by Muhammed Rafique that featured 3 sixes.
England ended the second day at 111 for no loss, but once again Bangladesh fought back, bowling England out for a further 184 runs on the third day. England’s poor show on a deteriorating pitch might have suggested that the Bangladeshi batsmen would find it tough work out in the middle in their second innings, but once again, the Tigers proved their doubters wrong. At 245 for six, the remaining batsmen have the chance to extend the team’s lead to over 200, and if they can do that, it will definitely put them in the driver’s seat for this match.
If Bangladesh can bat out the majority of the morning session and extend the lead past 200, it will make it hard work for the English batsmen on a crumbling pitch. With a possible 105 overs in the day, the run rate isn’t likely to be the issue for the English batsmen, should they decide to chase the target that they are set. However, if the Bangladeshi bowlers can pick up early wickets, it will put England in a precarious position. They will want to win this Test, but in trying to win, they will not want to risk being the first side to lose a Test match to Bangladesh. For England, the aim is clear, bowl Bangladesh out early on the fifth morning and take the game away from them quickly. For Bangladesh, the aim is to bat out the first session, or most of it anyway, add another 70 odd runs, and try to put the pressure on England. The seamers will want to keep it straight and exploit the variable bounce while the spinners, especially Enamul Huq Jnr, will turn the ball off the rough created by the bowler’s footmarks. It all makes for a fascinating day’s play.
Judging by the character that the Tigers have demonstrated thus far in this match, the fans have every reason to hope that their team will end the run of defeats and signal its arrival in the Test arena.