Liton was wary of the threat posed by Rishabh Pant, who scored 93 off 104 balls in India’s first innings and is yet to bat in the chase, but insisted that early wickets on the fourth morning would increase the pressure on India.
“We knew we had to target them 200-220,” Liton said. “The score we actually got is still difficult. If we get one or two quick wickets tomorrow they will be under pressure. I think this target is enough to win. If Rishabh bats like that As he usually does, so be it.” Difficult. The landscape will change. We are bowling well, and the pitch is helping us. Let’s see what happens.”
Liton said Shakib Al Hasan’s decision of in-and-out fields – with three fielders positioned in the deep from the first ball of India’s chase – was a shrewd move.
“We know the quality of our bowlers,” he said. “It’s always difficult to bat in Mirpur. Also, we didn’t have big scores to defend. If you give away runs while trying to attack, there’s not much left to defend.
“We knew wickets would fall to close fielders, but we kept some security. It was a good decision, as it made the batsmen suspicious.”
Liton’s 98-ball 73 put Bangladesh in a position to push for victory. He also urged the lower order to bat in a similar counter-intuitive fashion as he felt the chances of survival on such a deteriorating pitch were slim.
“When [Mehidy Hasan] Mirage came to bat, I said no point in defending for long,” Liton said. “They [India] Was bowling very well. We had to hit back. Miraj couldn’t do it, but I told him the same thing [Nurul Hasan] Sohan brother, He scored some important runs.
“I said the same thing to Taskin, that if we defend too much, they will get on us. You need runs on this wicket – not one where the game is a draw or you can bat long. It’s not Anyhow, but we need runs. It is difficult to defend 100 runs, but when you score 150 runs to win, the scenario is different. It would have been better if the lead was 200. This Test till the fifth day doesn’t go, so I kept telling Taskin that we should attack them. I think we were successful.”
Bangladesh have missed too many opportunities in the field this Test series and Liton will want them to step up if they are to defend 144 on the fourth day.
Liton said, “It is very difficult to field when the ball turns and bounces.” “The ball comes early. They are 100 runs behind so we have to field well to win the game.”
Chasing down India’s target, Akshar Patel was slotted at No.4 after losing two wickets in quick succession. Akshar is unbeaten after scoring 26 runs in 54 balls with the help of three fours. Mohammad Siraj suggested that Axar was promoted up the order to maintain the left-right combination to counter the Bangladesh bowlers.
,[Sending Axar early] There was a call from the management, but I felt if there was a left-handed batsman and a right-handed batsman, it would be difficult for the bowlers. We should have lost two wickets more but we shouldn’t be worried. The character is set and showing good intentions. There is still Rishabh and then Shreyas. That’s why there is nothing to worry about.
Siraj also felt that India let the Bangladesh batsmen out on the afternoon of the third day but insisted that there was nothing to panic. “His wicketkeeper [Nurul Hasan] Came on and started attacking,” he said. “After that Liton did as well and changed a bit with that pace. We spent 30 runs extra. But there’s no reason to worry.”
Mohammad Issam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84