DHAKA: David Warner and Steve Smith survived Bangladesh’s relentless spin onslaught to keep Australia alive in the opening test against Bangladesh on Tuesday.
The duo forged a stubborn unbroken 81-run stand for the third wicket and hold the key to Australia’s hopes of successfully completing the tricky 265-run chase as Australia ended the third day at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on 109 for two.
Warner, whose average in Asia is roughly half what he manages at home, was on 75 at the close, a belligerent knock studded with a six and 11 fours.
Smith, Australia’s best bet against spin, had reached 25, with Australia still needing 156 for what would be a memorable victory on a pitch where the ball has spun alarmingly and bounced unpredictably.
Earlier, Nathan Lyon kept Australia in the contest, claiming six for 82 to help bowl out Bangladesh for 221 after the hosts had resumed on 45 for one.
The off-spinner dismissed Taijul Islam and Imrul Kayes cheaply but Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim added 68 runs for the fourth wicket to stretch their overall lead.
Tamim celebrated his 50th test appearance by hitting his second fifty of the match, his fluent 78 including eight boundaries.
Usman Khawaja bowled the first over after the lunch break — his first deliveries in international cricket — but it was Lyon who damaged Bangladesh after Pat Cummins had dismissed Tamim with a sharply rising delivery.
The off-spinner accounted for the wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman, whose straight drive Lyon deflected onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end to run out Mushfiqur for 41.
Australia’s tricky chase got off to a poor start with Matt Renshaw, who had top-scored for the team in the first innings with 45, trapped leg-before to Mehidy Hasan for five and Khawaja fell for one for the second time in the match. Smith appeared to have a charmed life while his deputy Warner soldiered on at the other end.
Australia first innings: 217
Bangladesh second innings: (O/n: 45-1):
T Iqbal c Wade b Cummins78
S Sarkar c Khawaja b Agar15
T Islam lbw Lyon4
I Kayes c Warner b Lyon2
M Rahim (run out)41
Shakib c Cummins b Lyon5
S Rahman c Handscomb b Lyon22
N Hossain c Wade b Agar0
M Hasan c Khawaja b Lyon26
S Islam c Handscomb b Lyon9
M Rahman (not out)0
Extras (B-15, LB- 3, W-1)19
Total (all out, 79.3 overs)221
Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-61, 3-67, 4-135, 5-143, 6-186, 7-186, 8-186, 9-214.
Bowling: Hazlewood 4.1-2-3-0, Cummins 14-3-38-1, Lyon 34.3-10-82-6, Maxwell 5-0-24-0, Agar 20.5-1-55-2, Khawaja 1-0-1-0.
Australia second innings
D Warner (not out)75
M Renshaw lbw Mehedi5
U Khawaja c Taijul b Shakib1
S Smith (not out)25
Total (For 2 wkts, 30 overs)109
Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-28.
Bowling: Mehedi 14-2-51-1, Nasir 3-2-2-0, Shakib 8-2-28-1, Taijul 4-0-17-0, Mustafizur 1-0-8-0.