Despite taking a first innings lead of 78 runs on Thursday, the highest lead by Bangladesh in the first innings while batting second in a Test match, the Tigers failed to grasp the advantage that they so badly needed in the 1st Test against South Africa at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong.
At the end of yet another rain-affected day, the visitors are only 17 runs short of wiping out the deficit with all the second innings wickets intact. At close of play on Day 3, the visitors scored 61 runs for no loss in their second knock with openers Stiaan van Zyl and Dean Elgar unbeaten on 33 and 28 runs respectively.
The day started with high hopes of Bangladesh building up a formidable lead in the first innings. The two overnight batsmen Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim batted with caution but the home team dealt an early blow when in the 6th over Mushfiqur Rahim was adjudged LBW to Dale Steyn - 195 for 5.
Mushfiqur scored 28 runs. New batsman Liton Das and Shakib then steered the team to 252 at lunch with the hope of a big lead still in sight.
In the post-lunch session, which started 30 minutes late because of rain, the Proteas put up a double spin attack by Simon Harmer and JP Duminy, and in the 8th over Shakib needlessly skied a Harmer delivery while attempting a pull shot and was caught at short mid-wicket by Duminy.
The sixth wicket which yielded 82 runs, fell at the team score of 277, with Shakib departing just 3 runs short of his half century.
With the tail enders, all hopes of a big lead remained a distant hope. Liton held the fort at one end and Mohammad Shahid played a short but useful cameo knock of 25 taking 18 runs off one Harmer-over.
He departed at 311 adding 25 runs and the end was in sight. Liton completed his maiden test 50 in the 101st ball he faced but was out the next ball when he was caught behind of an inside-edge which brushed his pad before going into the gloves of Quinton de Kock.
Dale Steyn wrapped up the innings taking the last two wickets of Taijul Islam and Mustafizur Rahman with his vicious short balls to end with figures of 3 for 78 runs and the Bangladesh innings closed at 326 runs, their highest score against the Proteas.
Harmer also finished with 3 wickets conceding 105 runs while Philander took 2 for 40. That gave the South African openers 40 more minutes to bat in the extended second session.
At tea, they took the score to 23 and when play was halted for bad light and then stopped for the day when it began to rain, they were well in sight of wiping the deficit taking the score to 61 for no loss. The South Africans looked more at ease in negotiating the Bangladeshi bowlers in the second innings.
Liton Das has shown real maturity and class in his knock of 50. His approach was very cautious and if his partnership with Shakib could put up some more runs on the board and Bangladesh could build up a more handsome lead, the scenario would have been so much different.
South Africa has now come back into this game and if the weather does not spoil the proceedings, though the forecast is of more rain, then they could set a good target for the home team and then make a match of this Test. The result of this match is by no means a foregone conclusion.