CHITTAGONG: The first test between England and Bangladesh remains finely poised with Bangladesh requiring 33 runs with two wickets remaining to take the lead in the two-match series.
Before bad light brought a premature end to the day, Bangladesh made 253-8, chasing 286 for victory after a seesaw battle on the fourth day.
Sabbir Rahman remained not out on 59 and will be crucial for Bangladesh to secure its first victory against England. Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim combined for an 87-run sixth-wicket partnership to raise the hope of a famous victory.
"Tomorrow if we bat 10-15 overs, we will get that target. We have to get in there, spend as much time as possible in the middle," Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha said."I am a bit disappointed that we could have been ahead of the game in the first innings, more than what we are now. We are chasing the lead that we conceded in the first innings." England fought back in the late afternoon and claimed three wickets for 11 runs to leave Bangladesh on 238-8, before Taijul Islam (11 not out) helped Rahman weather the storm to keep Bangladesh alive.
The home side kept the target attainable, bowling England out for 240 in its second innings early Sunday. England survived just 4.2 overs to add 12 runs to its overnight total of 228-8.
"Ideally it would have been great to have finished the test match today," England fast bowler Stuart Broad said. "From our point of view as a team, to go back to the hotel, get some rest, be refreshed for that first hour tomorrow. "
"The batsmen have to play themselves in again. There has been quite a few wickets in that first hour every morning. We are not too disappointed to come off as a team. We have to make sure our intensity is very high." Bangladesh made an aggressive start with Imrul Kayes employing his feet well to neutralize the threat of spinners.
He and Tamim Iqbal added a quick 35 before Iqbal was deceived by the turn and bounce on a Moeen Ali delivery and got an inside edge to short leg.
Kayes and Mominul Haque then combined for 46 runs in just 10.2 overs, but Kayes fell two overs short of lunch as he top-edged a sweep on an Adil Rashid ball, with Joe Root at slip making the catch behind the wicketkeeper.
Kayes sent the ball across the rope six times in his 61-ball knock. The visitors took the upper hand in the post-lunch session by taking three quick wickets.
Offspinner Gareth Batty dealt a double in his consecutive overs after lunch to get England back on track. He won a video review to dismiss Mominul Haque for 27 and removed Mahmudullah, who took a review in vain, for 17.
Just when Shakib Al Hasan appeared to take the side to safety, offspinner Ali again struck with a delivery that shaped in to take the inside edge of Shakib for 24.
Rahman joined Rahim and counterattacked to put England bowlers in disarray. While Rahman was aggressive, Rahim's approach was serene and Bangladesh regained control.Batty could only distract Rahim from his task when he got extra bounce to undo him, bringing an end to an 87-run partnership.
Rahim batted for almost three hours and played 134 balls in his 39-run knock. Rahman by then hit three fours and two sixes to reach his maiden fifty off 76 balls but restrained himself as the day approached the business end.
Stuart Broad, however, sent fuller-length deliveries perfectly to remove Mehedi Hasan (1) and Kamrul Islam (0). As England appeared to be heading for victory, Taijul Islam stood tall to aid Rahman in ending the day without any further loss.
Offspinner Gareth Batty took 3-65. Fast bowler Stuart Broad (2-26) and offspinner Moeen Ali (2-60) claimed two wickets apiece. - AP