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Bangladesh, South Africa share honours on rain-affected third day of Chittagong Test

37It is the first time Bangladesh have overtaken South Africa’s first innings total but they could barely hold on to their 78-run advantage after failing to take a wicket in the second innings of the tourists.

The Proteas were 61 for no loss in 21.1 overs when bad light forced the players off the field on Thursday. It started raining soon leading the play to be called off for the day.

Openers Stiaan van Zyl (33) and Dean Elgar (28) gave no chance to Bangladesh bowlers and cut the deficit to 17 runs.

Bangladesh started the day with overnight score of 179 for 4 and were bowled out for 326, their highest score against South Africa, in the second session.

The previous highest against the Proteas was 259 at the same venue in 2008.

The sky was overcast with dark clouds on Thursday morning too. But play started on schedule, at 9:30am, punctuated by rain breaks.

Bangladesh were looking to Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan for a huge total but Mushfiq could not extend his innings despite getting off to a confident start.

Mushfiqur Rahim (28) opened the scoring with two boundaries off Dale Steyn, an outside edge past the slip cordon and a cut past backward point. He tried to score as many runs off the old ball as possible.

Proteas pace spearhead Dale Steyn had gone wicketless in his 13 overs on the second day but he struck in his third over trapping Mushfiqur leg before with Bangladesh still 53 runs behind.

After losing their skipper in the sixth over of the day, the Tigers’ hopes of a hefty lead hinged on Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das.

The pair stitched up an 82-run partnership under a light drizzle in the first session.

It not only helped Bangladesh take a lead against the tourists but also to their highest total against the top-ranked Test side.

Shakib Al Hasan, relatively quiet at the other end, settled in with Liton to keep the scoreboard ticking.

The left-hander hit van Zyl for consecutive boundaries in his 13th over, before Proteas captain Hashim Amla took the new ball and brought his pacers back.

Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel tightened the screw on Liton and Shakib with the former taking 40 balls for his first runs.

The wicketkeeper batsman played himself in before cracking two back-to-back boundaries off Simon Harmer.

The 20-year old showed his class when he softly punched Steyn for a straight drive to put Bangladesh in front before the players went to lunch.

After a half-hour rain delay, Shakib’s solid knock met a disappointing end as the top allrounder gifted his wicket attempting to reach his half-century with a boundary.

He skied Harmer for an easy catch to Jean-Paul Duminy after surviving a similar chance earlier in the over.

Nightwatchman Mohammad Shahid (25) then came in and tried to force the pace. He hammered 18 off Harmer’s 31st over cracking three fours and a flat six.

He paired with Liton for 34 runs and took Bangladesh past 300.

Shahid’s 19-ball cameo ended when he tried another big shot off Philander to hole out to van Zyl in the deep.

Liton formed the last line of defence, picking up gaps superbly with impeccable footwork and timing. He reached his maiden Test half-century off 101 balls with seven boundaries.

But he fell when Harmer’s extra bounce took an inside edge onto his pad for a catch to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

The third umpire confirmed the dismissal after the on-field umpires asked for a review. Steyn then wrapped it up with the last two wickets as Bangladesh lost their last four for only 15 runs.

Steyn returned 3 for 78 – just one wicket shy of his 400-wicket milestone. Harmer also bagged three wickets for the tourists.

The light meters came into play in the third session to force a halt to the match proceedings at 4:20pm as rain soon followed to cut short the play by 24.5 overs.

The second day’s play had to be truncated by 25 overs due to bad weather as well.

A magnificent bowling performance by the hosts had restricted the Proteas to 248 on the first day.