Shaheen Afridi brings Pakistan back in the contest
Stumps Bangladesh 39 for 4 (Mushfiqur 12*, Yasir 8*, Shaheen Afridi 3-6) and 330 lead Pakistan 286 (Abid 133, Shafique 52, Faheem 38, Taijul 7-116, Ebadot 2-47) by 83 runs
It's still an even contest between bat and ball, and an even contest between Bangladesh and Pakistan as well. Bangladesh, with Taijul Islam in the lead, wrested control of the game early on the third day in Chattogram and didn't relinquish it through the first two sessions, bowling Pakistan out for 286 and helping themselves to a 44-run lead.
Taijul loomed large over the proceedings, taking out seven wickets as Pakistan lost ten wickets on the day for 141 runs. But a searing Shaheen Shah Afridi then picked up three wickets in a rush, and Bangladesh went to stumps precariously placed at 39 for 4, effectively 83 for 4.
How do you break a big partnership when the bowlers appear to run out of ideas? In Chattogram, the answer is to sleep on it. For the second day in succession, the bowling side found a breakthrough in the morning after toiling through the later sessions on the previous day. This time, Bangladesh ended the opening stand at 146 off just the fifth ball of the morning, bowled by Taijul. And he made it two in two by following up the Abdullah Shafique dismissal by sending back Azhar Ali for a golden duck.
And Bangladesh had their tails up.
Shafique was fortunate to survive an lbw appeal early on in his innings, on the second day, when Bangladesh failed to review, but when Taijul skidded one through today, the debutant's bat came down far too late and he was trapped lbw.
Azhar, struggling for runs, was squared up by one that turned away and struck him on the back leg, and though the umpire turned Bangladesh down, they were not about to let this one go unreviewed. The ball was hitting middle, and Azhar walked back in front of a Chattogram crowd that came alive suddenly.
Babar Azam - and Fawad Alam after him - didn't look comfortable at all against a Bangladesh spin attack that was out for the kill. The Pakistan captain was done in by a beauty from Mehidy Hasan Miraz, playing down the wrong line only to see the ball crash into off stump.
It was Fawad's dismissal, though, that might illustrate the advantage of not having to bat last. The delivery from Taijul appeared to land in a footmark, and it ripped back in to tuck Fawad up, the ball kissing his glove on its way through to an alert Liton Das.
Mohammad Rizwan hadn't looked anywhere near his best, and was put out of his misery by Ebadot Hossain, trapped plumb in front after scoring five in 38 deliveries.
All along, Abid Ali, overnight on 93, was a picture of calm. He had watched the drama unfold, and brought up three figures early in the session with a flick through midwicket. He wasn't totally immune from hazard, though, and was fortunate to see first slip fluff an outside edge. But, for the most part, he seemed to be batting on a different pitch.
Abid's battle with Taijul was always going to be key, and when the opener missed a flick to one that had skidded through, the umpire raised his finger.
He had been responsible for 133 of Pakistan's 217 runs till that point, and once Abid fell, the game entered a different stage, and adopted a new intensity.
Pakistan weren't just behind in the game, but also in danger of conceding a huge lead, and possibly being set an insurmountable fourth-innings target. Having watched Pakistan crawl along at under two-and-a-half runs an over, Hasan Ali tried to be more enterprising. In a short and entertaining stay at the crease, he stepped out and smashed a four and a six before the inherent risk in that approach bit him. He stepped out again, a bit too early, and Taijul dragged his length back, giving Liton an easy stumping.
Bangladesh chipped away, Ebadot removing Sajid Khan, while Faheem Ashraf worked on reducing Pakistan's deficit. A moment of contention came when Nauman Ali was given out lbw, a decision the TV umpire upheld despite one of the replays appearing to indicate an inside edge. UltraEdge wasn't conclusive, and to Pakistan's dismay, the on-field call was upheld.
Faheem and Afridi went on to add 29 for the last wicket - the second-highest partnership of the innings after the 146 for the first - as Afridi played his shots, with Faheem not worried about farming the strike. When Taijul finally struck to pick up his seventh for the innings, Bangladesh had one session to bat out.
In a hostile, glorious display of fast bowling, Pakistan ensured they kept a foot in the door.
Shadman Islam was trapped in front as went across to one that jagged back in. Two balls after that wicket, Najmul Hossain Shanto nicked off to Shafique at first slip and the debutant completed a smart catch diving forward. Shaheen bent his back when pitching short, and one of those produced the wicket of Saif Hassan, the ball fended back to the bowler. At the other end, Hasan coaxed a leading edge from captain Mominul Haque off his second delivery.
Bangladesh survived another scare right at the death when a strong lbw shout from Nauman was turned down - it had spun too much. Another nearly rolled along the ground after bouncing, further illustrating the challenges of batting in the fourth innings.
There is a lot to look forward to in this Test, with a slow burner of an absorbing day today possibly giving way to a barnstorming tomorrow.