Spinners hit back for Australia, Bangladesh lead closes in on 250

Tea Bangladesh 260 and 205 for 8 (Mehedi 17*, Shafiul 2*) lead Australia 217 by 248 runs
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Nathan Lyon brought Australia back into the game after lunch © Getty Images

Bangladesh’s lead ballooned to a seriously worrying size for Australia after lunch on day three in Mirpur, despite Australia fighting back with five wickets in the session. At the break, Bangladesh’s advantage was already sitting at 248 runs, and on a challenging pitch offering variable bounce, Australia will need an outstanding batting display to get out of trouble. At tea, Bangladesh were 205 for 8, with Mehedi Hasan on 17 and Shafiul Islam on 2.

The session had started with the total on 133 for 3, with Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim well set. The loss of Tamim early in the session for 78 gave Australia hope, but the manner of his dismissal would also have concerned their batsmen. A shortish delivery from Pat Cummins flew off the pitch and kissed Tamim’s glove on the way through to Matthew Wade, who completed a good overhead catch. Tamim was given not out on field, but that was overturned on review.

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Shakib Al Hasan was unable to follow up his first-innings 84 with another contribution of note, well caught at deep cover by a running Cummins when he advanced to Nathan Lyon and went over the top on 5. Still, Bangladesh’s lead kept growing, and while their captain was at the crease, their innings was in reasonable health.

It took a freak dismissal to end Mushfiqur’s innings on 41. Sabbir Rahman drove a Lyon delivery hard back at the bowler, and the ball clipped Lyon’s fingers on the way through to the non-striker’s stumps. Mushfiqur’s reflexes were non-existent, and he was found loitering out of his ground.

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The wickets kept falling when Nasir Hossain under-edged Ashton Agar and was well caught by Matthew Wade for a duck, and Sabbir followed in the next over when he was given out caught at short leg off Lyon for 22. Replays indicated that the ball had touched neither bat or gloves, but Sabbir chose not to ask for a review.

Before lunch, Tamim had scored a second half-century of his 50th Test, scoring strongly behind square on both sides. He put on 68 with Mushfiqur, who signalled his intent early in his innings by getting off the mark with a lofted four over mid-on off the bowling of Lyon, and following up in Lyon’s next over with a six in the same region.

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The variable bounce had done for Imrul Kayes, who edged a ripping Lyon delivery that sprung off the surface and was well taken by David Warner at second slip. Lyon had already accounted for Taijul, who was lbw to a ball that slid on.

Australia had to rely heavily on their spinners after Josh Hazlewood walked off for assessment on his sore left side midway through his second over of the morning. Hazlewood was not expected to take any further part in the day’s play.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

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