Tea Bangladesh 272 for 6 (Das 66*, Mehidy 53*, Cornwall 3-60) trail West Indies 409 by 137 runs
After coming together for the seventh wicket halfway through the morning session on day three, Liton Das (66*) and Mehidy Hasan (53*) dominated the afternoon session, taking Bangladesh to 272 for 6 and reducing the first-innings deficit against West Indies to 137.
Against the older ball, they displayed exemplary concentration to block, leave and duck. The balls that were wide of either side of the stumps were punished for the occasional boundary. Backing the basics, the duo added 91 runs for the session, taking their unbeaten partnership to 117 before tea.
The post-lunch session began with Das on 23 and Mehidy on 11, with offspinner Rahkeem Cornwall and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican operating. While Cornwall’s turn from the rough outside off kept the batsmen in two minds, Warrican failed to build pressure like his partner. Mehidy often rocked back against Warrican to cut – with the turn – to deep point while Das eyed the midwicket boundary off Cornwall with the flick off his toes. That period of play took the stand past fifty and ensured Bangladesh avoided the follow on, which had seemed like a distinct possibility when the two batsmen came together with the score at 155 for 6.
Alzarri Joseph replaced Warrican, and he preferred the shorter lengths. Both Das and Mehidy were happy to duck through that challenge and when Joseph bowled full, they punished him down the V. With both Joseph and Shannon Gabriel failing to get any purchase with the older ball, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite went to part-time spin to count the overs down to 80 so that the pacers could return fresh with the new ball.
But that’s when Das and Mehidy pounced. Nkrumah Bonner’s legspin was struck by Das for consecutive fours to reach his seventh Test fifty. Brathwaite’s offbreak, too, allowed easy singles. And when the new ball was taken, both Das and Mehidy looked to go on the offensive.
The first over with the new ball, from Gabriel, was wayward, conceding six including four byes, and brought up the hundred stand. They went for their shots, often successfully, which made Gabriel impatient. The fast bowler showed it by saying a few words to the batsmen on his follow through, which forced the umpires to have a chat with him. Mehidy then got his own fifty, to back up the century in Chattogram, by flicking Gabriel for three in the 85th over. The other new-ball bowler, medium-pacer Kyle Mayers, did not get any swing and was comfortably played out too. Having lost no wickets in the session, the period after lunch belonged completely to Bangladesh. It was the first session – since the first one on the first day – that they could call their own.
Earlier in the day, Cornwall’s double-strike of overnight batsmen Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim had put the hosts in a spot of bother. Mithun and Rahim had begun the morning surviving a barrage of short balls from Gabriel, but when the quick – who overstepped thrice in his first three overs – went fuller, he was put away by both batsmen for fours through cover. Warrican had a short opening spell too, as he drifted too often to the leg, allowing both batsmen easy runs on the on side.
Cornwall replaced Warrican in the 44th over and created the first chance of the morning when Mithun mistimed a whip off his toes that went just beyond midwicket. But, in his next over, Cornwall got Mithun’s wicket on the back of an unorthodox field placement. Mithun looked to flick off his boots but was through his shot too early. The ball went in the air on the leg side, and Brathwaite – lurking at short midwicket – dived to his right to take the catch at full length. Mithun went back on 15 after putting on a stand of 71 with Rahim.
Rahim himself started the day on 27 and had reached his 22nd half-century in Cornwall’s first over. He tried to not let Cornwall settle from the first ball, but was almost caught at short leg after his half-century. He then survived a close lbw call off Cornwall after missing a sweep, but soon paid the price of being overly aggressive. Trying to reverse sweep Cornwall behind point, he offered a simple catch to cover on 54 when he toe-ended the shot.
That brought Mehidy and Das together, the last of Bangladesh’s recognised batsmen, and together they played out the next 12 overs before lunch with minimal risk. The stand, that was on 26 at the start of the post-lunch session, had blossomed by the time tea arrived.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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