David Warner registered back-to-back centuries to propel Australia into a strong position in the second Test with Bangladesh.
Warner’s first hundred in an away Test in almost three years came in vain in Mirpur as Bangladesh won by 20 runs, but they appear well-placed to celebrate victory in Chittagong after ending day three with a 72-run lead, thanks in no small part to the opener’s 123.
The left-hander picked up where he left off on Tuesday, once again displaying typical patience on his way to a 20th Test ton, although Peter Handscomb (82) was not able to reach three figures, but deserved huge credit, having reportedly lost close to five kilograms during a punishing stay at the crease the day before.
Bangladesh were able to take regular wickets, with Mustafizur Rahman and Mehedi Hassan claiming five of those to fall on Wednesday.
But fielding mis-haps once again cost the hosts as Australia batted out the day to reach stumps on 377-9.
A wash-out of the morning session will prompt an early start to proceedings on Thursday, but it did not dampen the resolve of Warner and Handscomb, who picked up their gritty task after lunch until the latter backed up too far and was sharply run out by Shakib Al-Hasan.
Warner continued unabashed and his calmness was in evidence as he waited on 99 for 15 deliveries before pouncing on a full toss to bring up consecutive centuries.
The sight of Warner and Glenn Maxwell nudging and nurdling belied each man’s reputation, although Maxwell ought to have gone when Mustafizur (3-84) worked him over nicely, only for Mehedi to drop a simple gully catch.
Mustafizur had greater reward when Warner’s epic knock – at 234 deliveries, his longest in Asia – was ended on 123 by a juggling catch by Imrul Kayes, but Mehedi (3-93) failed to get hands to a blasted Hilton Cartwright drive, taking a painful knock to the ribs in the process.
Mehedi would get his revenge, ousting Cartwright (18) before tea and Matthew Wade (8) was gone soon afterwards, trapped in front by Mustafizur.
Maxwell impressively saw out 98 balls for 38, but he was left to rue a fabulous Mushfiqur Rahim catch, tumbling down after a combination of inside edge, pad and trailing elbow had sent the ball spearing to ground.
Pat Cummins (4) was out lbw offering no stroke as Mehedi began to extract serious turn from the pitch. Ashton Agar nursed the tail before he was bowled through the gate by Shakib (1-82) for 22.
But Bangladesh could not wrap up the tail before stumps and must fight to gain control of the contest on day four.
Scores in the match entering Thursday’s fourth day are:- Bangladesh 305; Australia 377/9.