It was English all-rounder Ben Stokes who was instrumental for the visitors as they first took a 45-run first-innings lead before extending it to 273 runs by the end of the third day of their first Test against Bangladesh at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Saturday.
Stokes picked up four wickets to hand England the lead before coming back with the willow to score a valuable 85-run knock as he, alongside Jonny Bairstow, added 127 runs for the sixth wicket. England eventually finished the third day on 228 with two wickets in hand.
The five-dayer seems to be evenly balanced and Stokes believes if England can take a lead of 300 plus, then the game will be set for an exciting finish.
“If we can get up to 300-, 310-, 320-lead it would be nice. We are lucky that we have a really strong batting line-up. [Stuart] Broady’s got a Test hundred himself and [Chris] Woakes has got nine or 10 first-class hundreds. There is no reason why these two cannot go and get another fifty for us and then obviously the pitch itself is spinning,” Stokes told the media after the day's play.
“They’ve got a few left-handers which is going to be tough with the two off-spinners that we’ve got. So if we can get 320, it would be nice and hopefully we can bowl them out,” he said.
The left-hander displayed tremendous amounts of patience that Shakib al Hasan could well take some lessons from.
While earlier, on a pitch that has very little for the seamers, Stokes was instrumental with the old ball as he used the reverse swing to great effect, ending up with bowling figures of 4/26 from his 14 overs.
Like many, Stokes too was shocked at the mode of Shakib's dismissal.
“It was a bit of a shocking thing the second ball this morning. Obviously he was their last top-class batsman. Maybe he just thought that he was going to try and put the pressure on our spinners,” he said.
“Luckily the way that Moeen [Ali] bowled throughout the innings and the amount of spin that he was getting, it was always going to be tough for him. It opened the door for us to finish them off quite cheaply,” added the Durham cricketer.