It has been difficult to get runs on this wicket. The rate of scoring has been slow, the ball has been rather tricky to force and middle.
And at least a non-trivial chunk of the game has been lost to weather.
Which leaves us with two days with the second innings of the match yet to be completed. Which is not that common in Test cricket anymore.
Australia has a 72-run first innings lead, with just one wicket in hand. Given that they went past the Bangladesh total with just four wickets in the debit column, we must say that the hosts have done remarkably well to get back in the game. Of course, the brittleness of the Australian batting, once the sheen of David Warner and Steve Smith has been removed from the equation, also played its part.
There being two days left in the game, with Bangladesh 1-0 up in the series, and at a slightly disadvantageous position in this Test match, there may be the tendency for the home batsmen to go on the defensive when they start out in the second innings. Indeed, even when they batted in the first innings, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar and others were prone to retreat a wee bit too far into their shells.
However, that can prove to be the proverbial recipe for disaster. The ultra-cautious approach in the first innings had reduced the Bangladesh batting to 117 for 5 before some entertaining enterprise displayed by Sabbir Rahman pulled them out of the woods. During the Australian reply, skipper Smith was flamboyant during his crucial innings of 58, and both Warner and Peter Handscomb, while defending with purpose and poise, did capitalise on any opportunity provided for pushing the score along. Dead defensive bats have been rather unproductive.
In short, the more successful batsmen on this wicket have been the ones on the lookout for runs. There is a sporting bounce on the track, that helped Mustafizur Rahman bring a few up disconcertingly. There are growing footholes from which turn can be rather sharp and tricky. An extremely defensive approach is often purposed defeating in such scenarios, with the probability of getting a ball with one’s name written on it being only a function of time. More often than not, sides with defensive mindset tend to dig themselves into a hole in these situations, with batsmen being dismissed after uneasy sojourns with not much to show for their efforts.
Hence, when Bangladesh come out on the morrow, it will help to have a positive approach. The lead is healthy, but not match-deciding yet. And if they manage to wipe it out without the loss of too many wickets, the pressure will be back on Australia as they have to bat last on a wicket that will be bound to deteriorate with the passing of time and overs.
There is enough time left in this match for a thrilling climax to this intriguing brace of Tests. And if Bangladesh remain intent on setting a healthy target, we may be on the verge of yet another close tussles that have rejuvenated Test cricket in this season.