Kingstown: Mushfiqur Rahim rode his luck and battled through the pain of a badly bruised finger in compiling an unbeaten 70 to keep Bangladesh alive at 256 for five in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day of the first Test against the West Indies at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent on Monday.
Following-on 302 runs behind the home side's first innings total of 484 for seven declared, the tourists go into the final day still needing another 46 runs to make the Caribbean team bat again with five wickets in hand.
Reduced to 110 for four at the lunch interval despite a typically attacking 53 by opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh looked doomed to a massive innings defeat inside four days before Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah (66) came together in a partnership that realised 130 runs for the fifth wicket and frustrated the West Indies for over three hours.
That frustration intensified to exasperation as chance after chance was put down through the afternoon. Mushfiqur was dropped twice in the slips off the fast bowlers while Mahmudullah offered a sharp chance to specialist spinner Sulieman Benn before part-time bowler Chris Gayle lured him into a miscued swipe to extra-cover where Kirk Edwards spilled the simplest of catches.
Kemar Roach and the second new ball eventually got the breakthrough, Mahmudullah taken off the inside edge by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin in the final hour of the day's play. Only a few minutes earlier, Mushfiqur was struck painfully on the middle finger of the right hand, an injury that required extensive and continued treatment on the field.
Yet he continued grittily and resumes on the final morning alongside Nasir Hossain as Bangladesh seek to continue their rearguard effort for as long as possible to deny the West Indies a victory that appeared to be theirs for the taking at the lunch interval. Tamim's half-century was the only bright spot in the morning for Bangladesh against the West Indies' varied attack, of which Benn again featured prominently.
His opening partner, Shamsur Rahman, fell cheaply as a careless drive at Roach offered a straightforward catch to Ramdin with the opener just on four. Imrul Kayes counter-attacked briefly in a promising 70-run second-wicket stand before the introduction of Gayle brought about his demise via a lazy drive for Edwards to take the catch at short extra-cover and send the batsman back to the pavilion for 25.
At the other end, Tamim continued to mix watchful defiance with full-blooded attack, hoisting three sixes, the third of which took him to his 15th Test half-century. But it was at that point that Benn made his impact, drawing Mominul Haque into a loose drive to be caught at the wicket and then bowling Tamim through the gate with a delivery that spun in sharply to the left-hander.