Sabbir Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim were the two players who built up the most important partnership of the innings    AFP
Sabbir Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim were the two players who built up the most important partnership of the innings AFP

A brilliant performance by Bangladesh middle-order batsman Sabbir Rahman kept his team’s hopes alive as the team ended with 253 runs on the board and 2 wickets at hand in the first Test. Bangladesh are playing on Day Four with England at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong as they put up a decent batting performance. Sabbir scored his maiden half-century in Tests and remained the star with the bat to get Bangladesh back on track after an initial collapse of the top and middle-order of the hosts’ batting. As Day Five’s play resumes, Sabbir will bat at 59 with Taijul Islam at 11. FULL Cricket Scorecard: Bangladesh vs England 1st Test at Chittagong

Post tea, the two batsmen started playing very carefully, looking at the importance of their wicket. The bowlers also kept on producing chances. Sabbir Rahman got dropped in his innings once soon after tea, but that got him a new life as he went on to score his maiden Test half-century. Mushfiqur Rahim, the skipper, failed to add more than 39 getting out off a Gareth Batty delivery. Next in, Mehedi Hasan and Kamrul Islam Rabbi soon followed their skipper for individual ducks. Stuart Broad got into action towards the end of the day’s play, removing the two tail-enders.

Taijul Islam looked lot more comfortable than the other tail-enders. His experience was reflected the way he understood his role at the crease. Though initially he took time, he gradually started seeing the gaps and placing the ball to steal runs. He kept on rotating strike more often to give more to the set batsman.

For England, Gareth Batty took 3 wickets, remaining the highest wicket-taker for the side. Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad bagged a couple of wickets each.

At lunch, the team had lost two crucial wickets already. While Tamim had scored only 9, Kayes played a useful knock of 43 runs that helped the side get over the loss of Tamim smoothly. Bangladesh needed a big partnership to bring in the stability post lunch as well as get runs on the board but wickets kept falling in regular intervals. Mahmudullah departed soon after lunch being lbw on a Gareth Batty delivery. The next to follow him was Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib has been effective with the ball in favourable conditions but failed to play big knocks in both the innings, increasing the hosts problems even more. Sabbir, along with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim then started taking things forward slowly.

Sabbir did a great thing to pick the loose deliveries once he was set. The cricketer hit the first six of the day followed by another maximum and a four. The sudden boost of quick runs took a lot of pressure away from the home side and kept the hopes alive for them to win the match and gain the advantage in the tournament.

England resumed batting on Sunday morning in a hope to add some more to their already challenging target but their innings did not last long. While they had ended Day Three at 288 for 8, they could only add 11 more runs before losing 2 wickets. Stuart Broad departed early on the day, being run out, and Taijul Islam dismissed Gareth Batty a couple of overs later to end England s innings at 240 all out, letting Bangladesh to chase 286.

Shakib Al Hasan remained the most successful bowler for Bangladesh in this innings, bagging 5 wickets. He also surpassed the 150 wickets mark in Tests during the innings.

Batty opened bowling for England and Tamim and Kayes opened the hosts batting. The two looked to start things off slowly and steadily. Visitors Skipper Alastair Cook kept switching between Moeen Ali and Batty for the first few overs and the trick worked as Tamim fell for a Moeen delivery. The bowler had appealed for a similar dismissal a delivery back but it was unsuccessful. The next delivery was outside off-stump, and got a thick inside edge to land in a diving Gary Ballance s hands. Mominul Haque joined Kayes at the crease.

The wicket, however, did not affect the run flow as the two batsmen started hitting freely to propel the runrate. The two batsmen ensured that there is one boundary in every over that took the runrate over 5. Rashid Khan got rid of Kayes in his very first over of the day. Kayes tried to sweep the ball but it kissed his gloves and landed in Joe Root s safe hands.

Mahmudullah joined Mominul at the crease and the runrate dropped thereafter. Lunch was taken an over after the wicket. As play resumes, Mominul will bat at 19 with Mahmudullah batting at 4. Though the 2 wickets are likely to affect the Bangladesh batting, the brief partnership by Kayes has nullified the effect. The hosts will have to build a good long partnership that fetches a good amount of runs at this point. On the other hand, the visitors will look to get a couple of more wickets to ensure their victory.

Brief scores:

England 293 and 240 (Ben Stokes 85, Jonny Bairstow 47; Shakib Al Hasan 5 for 85) lead by 200 runs against Bangladesh 248 and 253 for 8 (Imrul Kayes 43, Sabbir Rahman 59*; Moeen Ali 2 for 60, Gareth Batty 3 for 65)

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)