At the end of the fourth day’s play in the one-off Test between India and Bangladesh, the visitors stand at 103/3 and still need 356 runs for what would be a historic win. But, for Bangladesh, it is a massive ask considering how the batsmen have been put under pressure and how prolific India’s bowling attack was in the final session. Nicknamed ‘The Tigers’, Bangladesh barely showed characteristics of the ferocious animal but instead looked like prey fighting to survive and somehow prolong the inevitable.
But the beauty of sports exists in the never say die attitude of some and in pulling off remarkable comebacks – something Bangladesh produced a shade of in the first innings. From 109/4 after losing the wicket of Mahmudullah, the visitors had reduced the deficit to 322/6 at the close of play. However, things didn’t go as desired or planned on the fourth day’s play as they were bowled out for 388 and gave away lead of 299 runs.
In the second innings, India had a simple plan in mind – go out and score quickly to fatten the advantage as much as possible before bringing Bangladesh out to face the music. And that worked out very well with India scoring 159 – at a loss of four wickets – in 29 overs at 5.48 runs per over. This helped set a target of 459 runs.
But with the cracks on the pitch opening up and the bounce remaining erratic at times – staying low for the spinners and bouncing up off the seamers – scoring over 400 runs is a grueling task.
If Bangladesh are to get a win out of this – which looks nearly improbable at this juncture – they need to show the same fight that they did in the opening innings. Then Mushfiqur Rahim scored a century, Shakib Al Hasan produced 82 and Mehedi Hasan scored a maiden Test fifty.
For the second innings, Rahim and Hasan are yet to arrive in the middle while Shakib is playing steadily at 21. He is joined by Mahmudullah on 9.
So from the fifth day’s play in Hyderabad, Bangladesh need to remain steady and not go for any big shots or expansive efforts that could prove costly in the end. While the saying goes ‘attack is the best form of defence’, for Bangladesh, defence would be the most ideal thing to do if they are to avoid defeat. If they are to go for the win, they need to make the most of the first two sessions as the final session has been a daunting affair with ball spinning more than usual. But for that, the Bangladesh batsman need to be wary of the seam bowling threat and variety available to Virat Kohli – Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Pakistan came close to chasing Australia’s target of 490 runs in Brisbane in the second week of December by scoring 450 runs and could have even managed to win that but for a late and dramatic collapse. Maybe Bangladesh could avoid all that and get the win for the biggest chase in Test cricket history.