Tigers up against Mount Everest
Tamim Iqbal charmed the crowd with some elegant boundaries in the gentle afternoon sunlight after Shakib Al Hasan had entertained them in the morning during his unbeaten 89-run knock on the third day of the second Test at Mirpur yesterday.
Before leaving the field on unbeaten 32 in the second innings, Tamim created a small piece of history as he became only the second Bangladeshi batsman to cross the 3,000-run mark in Test cricket after Habibul Bashar.
The Chittagonian however has little scope to pay any attention to any such records as the hosts need something special from the opener, similar to the last Test in Khulna, to bring the game into life on the fourth day.
Much to the delight of the 10,000 odd holiday fans who turned up at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Pakistan skipper Misbahul Haq did not choose to enforce the follow-on despite gaining a 354-run first innings lead.
With a huge lead and two more days in hand, Pakistan will sniff their first win on the tour. On the other hand, Bangladesh, with one player short already, lost opener Imrul Kayes in pursuit of their 550-run target and finished the day on 63 for 1.
Tamim and Imrul had a reasonable start before Yasir Shah once again bowled the latter. The ball turned viciously from outside off and went past Imrul's drive. The left-hander was left bemused as the ball went through the gap between his bat and pad and disturbed the stumps.
If it was Pakistan's ploy to wait for the cracks on the pitch to further open, then they were successful as quite a few deliveries kept low to further compound Bangladesh's woes.
The task will be tougher for the Tigers against a versatile attack to deprive Pakistan from a victory.
Earlier in the morning, paceman Wahab Riaz pounded in with aggression and took out Soumya Sarkar and Shuvagata Hom in quick succession to make sure Pakistan were in firm control of the Mirpur Test.
A length ball from Riaz did the trick after a barrage of short ones as Soumya hit it in the air and got caught at cover. Shuvagata was out for a golden duck while trying to fend off a short ball and getting caught at gully.
After hitting a few boundaries Taijul Islam fell to an ugly swipe as Bangladesh were reduced to 140 for eight after resuming the day on 107 for 5. Shakib however took the charge to take the total past the 200-mark by hitting 14 fours and two sixes and added 62 in a 63-run last-wicket stand with Mohammad Shahid. In the process, the left-hander also completed 1,000 runs at this venue.
Before the lunch break, Pakistan negotiated three overs for the loss of Mohammad Hafeez to Shahid who also took the other opener Sami Aslam after the break. Bangladesh got four more wickets but captain Misbah hit a 72-ball 82 as Pakistan declared their second innings at 195 for 6 to set a daunting task for the hosts, who can only take inspiration from their second innings performance in the Khulna Test.