When Bangladesh began day three, they had a mountain to climb. At the end of the day, they still have a mountain to climb. However, their task looks a lot less intimidating. A lot of credit for that goes to the fight with which Bangladesh tackled the Indian bowling attack.
Despite the top order failing to provide a solid platform to their innings, Bangladesh veteran Shakib Al Hasan refused to throw in the towel and blew fresh life into the Bangladesh batting with a gritty knock of 82. The knock didn't just peg India back, but also showed the batsmen a way to deal with the situation.
Fortunately for the visitors, captain Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehedi Hasan chose to tread down the path directed by Shakib and did it quite well. In the final session on day three, the visitors added 76 runs, but more importantly didn't lose a wicket. Still 365 runs behind the hosts tally, Bangladesh have a long way to go. But with just two days left to play in the Test match, they can put some pressure back on India if they bring the resistance they showed at the fag end of day three to day four.
It will be easier said than done for Rahim and Co with India expected to come hard at them in the morning session, but if the visitors can negotiate it without much damage they can induce a bit of desperation among the Indian ranks. For that to happen, Rahim and Mehedi must ignore the scoreboard or the match situation and just bat to the best of their abilities.
The duo showed on day three that they are capable of dealing with the threat posed by the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners. The visitors lost just two wickets to the famed Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and scored 137 runs off them. So if they can believe in their abilities and stick to their guns, Bangladesh can give Virat Kohli some thinking to do.
If Bangladesh last till lunch and close in on 400, Kohli will have a decision to make about whether to enforce the follow-on. India have hardly been tested in the matches gone by and a repeat of the post-tea session on day three could knock them off their guard a bit. The match isn't beyond Bangladesh if they manage to get the mental aspect of their game right.
However, if they come out on day four with an aim to push for an unlikely draw, they would put a lot off pressure on themselves. It's key for Bangladesh to just bat naturally and take it session by session, if not hour by hour. Runs aren't India's problem, but time could potentially be. Bangladesh must try and prolong their first innings as long as possible and bring the time factor into the equation. That will put India under pressure and may force them to make mistakes.
The visitors' task is cut out, but day three showed they have the technical ability to get out of this hole. Whether they have the mental make-up to rise up to this challenge is what we could learn from day four.