Sport Cricket Warner, Smith lead Australia back from the brink against Bangladesh

Warner, Smith lead Australia back from the brink against Bangladesh

David Warner
David Warner will play a crucial role if Australia is to get over the line against Bangladesh in the first Test. Photo: Getty
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David Warner has buried his subcontinent demons to give Australia the chance to pull off a miracle win over Bangladesh in the first Test in Dhaka.

Set 265 for victory, Warner scored an unbeaten 75 to lift the visitors to 2-109 at stumps on day three.

Skipper Steve Smith, who survived a tight stumping decision from his first ball, reached 25 not out, leaving Australia needing a further 156 runs to pull off an unlikely triumph.

Warner’s struggles on the subcontinent have been a major headache for Australia but he dug deep on Tuesday to produce his second-highest Test score in Asia.

The vice-captain played with aggression and confidence, cracking 11 fours and a six.

If Australia succeed in their imposing run-chase, it will be their second-highest fourth-innings run chase in Asia.

Not since Ricky Ponting guided his team to a target of 307 against Bangladesh in nearby Fatullah in 2006 has Australia scaled such heights in the region.

Perhaps the most treacherous element that stands in Australia’s way is a deteriorating pitch that will only get harder to bat on.

Such a fightback had looked far from likely when Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja both fell cheaply.

After playing the spin with confidence during his first-innings of 45, Renshaw looked far less assured the second time around and was trapped lbw by offspinner Mehedi Hasan on five.

Nathan Lyon
Without Nathan Lyon, Australia might have been chasing a lot more. Photo: AP

Khawaja (one) continued his disastrous return to national duties, lofting a sweep shot to Taijul Islam at deep backward square leg off Shakib Al Hasan’s left-arm spin.

Warner was given a life by a Bangladeshi side that earlier in the day had been deserved favourites to claim their maiden Test victory over Australia.

Warner’s cut shot found his edge but Soumya Sarkar couldn’t secure a tough catch at first slip.

Mehedi was again denied the following over when Imrul Kayes dropped Smith at short leg.

Nathan Lyon earlier spun Australia back into contention with 6-82 as Bangladesh were bowled out for 221 shortly after tea.

The tourists looked in serious trouble after losing Josh Hazlewood to a side injury within the first hour of the morning session.

Hazlewood pulled up sore one ball into his second over and played no further part in the day’s play.

Lyon was the pick of the bowlers, while Agar snared 2-55 and Cummins 1-38.

The pressure is now on Australia’s batsmen to improve on their dismal first-innings performance after being bowled out for 217 on day two.

Defeat would leave them at risk of falling to their lowest-ever Test ranking.