Getting Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim early key to hosts’ chances on Day 5

With the passage of events on Day 4 of the ongoing one-off Test between India and Bangladesh, the stage seems set for the former to take the honours on the final day of the match on Monday.

Bangladesh deserve credit for putting up a decent fight in the match so far, and taking the game into the fifth and final day. When sides such as New Zealand and England were blanked by the Indians in past tournaments, with the Indian spinners running through their batting orders like a hot knife through butter, the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan putting up a resistance against two world-class spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja is commendable to say the least.

The day began with Mehedi Hasan getting his leg-stump knocked over without adding to his overnight score, courtesy a sharp inswinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Mushfiqur Rahim kept the fight going from one end even as he kept losing his partners at regular intervals. He stood firm, bringing up his fifth Test century, and eventually got his team close to the 400-run mark, which did not seem feasible when they had lost their fourth wicket with 109 on board.

The highlight from the Indian point of view was Ashwin getting his 250th Test wicket, becoming the fastest to do so by beating previous record-holder Dennis Lillee by three Tests. Cheteshwar Pujara’s quickfire 50 along with a contribution of similar value from captain Virat Kohli (38) helped the hosts declare on a score of 159/4 in 29 overs at a run rate that is good by ODI standards.

While Bangladesh have managed to drag the match to the fifth and final day of the game, it doesn’t mean that they have safely sheltered themselves from enemy fire. The pitch is starting to play more tricks than ever, as was evident on Sunday, and will likely get more unpredictable on the final day. For the hosts, the main target will be getting the middle-order duo of Shakib and Mushfiqur early, because they have the ability to put on a strong fight and thwart India’s attack, like they did in the first innings. There already are plenty of footmarks left behind by the pacers, while the cracks are starting to widen — all there in the pitch for Ashwin and Jadeja to feast on.