Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bangladesh’s Tamim says Australia still have a long way to go in chase

  • Sports Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-08-29 21:36:53 BdST


With Australia looking good in their hunt for 265 to win the Mirpur Test, Tamim Iqbal believes Bangladesh have enough time to turn the game once more in their favour.

After Nathan Lyon’s 6-82 helped Australia bowl Bangladesh out for 221 in their second innings, the Tigers struck back with two early wickets to raise the home crowd’s hopes at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

But David Warner then struck a fluent 75 and remained unbeaten with his skipper Steven Smith (25) at the other end in an unbroken 81-run partnership, aided by a couple of dropped catches from the hosts.

Australia cut the target down to 156 by stumps on Day 3, forcing Bangladesh back to the drawing board for the penultimate day if they are to halt the tourists’ charge.

“Just one more wicket would...,” an Australia journalist just began his question when Tamim stopped him midway and said, “Not one, rather eight.”

Tamim’s realistic response is understandable but the way the pitch has played out so far in this game, picking out one of the two batsmen leading the chase could suffice for the Tigers’ turnaround, as the Aussie journalist may have wanted to point out.

Ending the threatening partnership between Warner and Smith would be Bangladesh’s prime target on Wednesday morning.

“The wicket here is very unpredictable. No one can say what’s gonna happen next. Tomorrow is a new day. Two of Australia’s best batsmen will go out to play. If we can get one of them out quickly, then 150 more runs is long way off,” Tamim said.

“We can make their job difficult, or end up making it easy. But the former will be our goal. If we can pick out either of these wickets, the match will become open again.”

When Tamim and Mushfiqur Rahim were batting on Tuesday morning, Bangladesh looked set to post a big target. But the opener fell to a beautiful delivery from Pat Cummins on 78 before Mushfiqur walked back for a run out at the non-striker’s end.

The last five wickets then fell like ninepins for just 35 runs. Tamim had hoped to set a tougher target for the Aussies.

“The target is not really too small. Even a day ago, we would’ve been quite happy. But today we had the opportunity to stretch the lead past 300. From that point, it’s a bit frustrating. 300 would’ve been good,” Tamim added.

Australia were under pressure at the start of their chase when Bangladesh spinners sent back Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja inside 28 runs.

After that, both Warner and Smith both survived after offering catches and remained unbeaten at close.

“Australia batted well today. We also bowled very well. But we could’ve done better after picking up two wickets. The bowling could have been more controlled, and then the day would’ve been a better one for us,” Tamim said.

“Now we have to bowl in good areas. Not just for wickets. If we do that for dot balls and create pressure, the wickets will come.”

The fourth innings of this match is in many ways reminiscent of Bangladesh’s second Test against England last year.

Bangladesh gave England 273 runs to chase down and the tourists cruised to 100 without losing any wicket. But the spinners then wreaked havoc and skittled England out for just 164 to seal a memorable victory.

“The situation is similar to that match against England...150 runs may not look much, but such is the wicket that if one of those who are batting gets out, anything can happen.”

“I’ve seen many such matches, also played against England. But we can’t judge based on history. The work has to be done by us. The two batting at the moment, they are Australia’s best batsmen.

“The quicker we take them out, the more the odds will be in our favour," the ace batsman added.