Having removed three Australia batsmen in quick succession with only 18 runs on the board in nine overs, Bangladesh needed to hold onto the momentum and initiate early blows on day two with visiting captain Steven Smith and opener Matthew Renshaw at the crease.
Astonishingly, host Bangladesh did not have to wait long as off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz dismissed Smith only in the third over of the day.
This is considered to be the turning point for Bangladesh in the game as Australia suffered a debacle to end their first innings on 217, replying to Bangladesh’s 260.
At stumps, the Tigers were in the driving seat with a 88-run lead and nine wickets in hand.
According to Miraz, Bangladesh had a set plan for the Australia captain, which was to make him play round the wicket.
“We had a plan for him (Smith). Mushfiqur [Rahim] bhai had told me on the first day to bowl to him round the wicket as it makes it difficult for him to play. He does not get to use his feet and tends to play on the front foot. This creates opportunity for the ball to turn and go either towards the stumps or end up in a catch. I tried to follow the plan and it worked,” Mehedi explained at the post-day press conference in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Monday.
With the substantial lead and wickets in hand, Miraz believes any target above 300 will be enough for the Tigers to keep the Test against Australia in control.
“We do not have any specific target, rather we want to put a big score on the board. We plan to score as much as possible. But given the behaviour of the wicket, I think any total above 300 will be good enough for us,” said the former Bangladesh U-19 captain.
Bangladesh’s job with the ball was made easy by ace all-rounder Shakib al Hasan.
A record five-wicket haul by the left-arm spinner was key for the home side to restrict Australia for 217 in the first innings.
Shakib’s 16th five-wicket haul in the longest format saw him emerge as the fourth bowler after Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath and South Africa’s Dale Steyn to bag a five-for against nine Test-playing countries.
“Shakib bhai has been dominating (the world) as an all-rounder in all the three formats of the game. It feels good and I’m proud to see our country have an all-rounder like him, and that I am able to play alongside him in the team. No words are enough to describe him. I feel happy that he holds so many records and that I play with him and get to learn from his experience,” said Miraz, who also contributed significantly to Bangladesh’s cause by notching three wickets.