Ben Stokes inspired an England comeback on day three of the first Test match against Bangladesh in Chittagong. The 25-year-old all-rounder produced one of the best performances of his international career so far, helping to dismiss the hosts for 248 before playing the most sizeable innings of the match as England established a lead of 273 with two wickets still in hand.
Bangladesh trailed England by just 72 overnight – but collapsed in a heap in the morning session. Their dramatic capitulation began with the second ball of the day when Shakib Al Hasan played a brainless shot against the off-spin of Moeen Ali and was easily stumped by Jonny Bairstow.
Thereafter, Adil Rashid dismissed Shafiul Islam and the indefatigable Stokes finished with eye-catching figures of 24/4 from his 14 overs, with the hosts losing their last six wickets for a meagre 27 runs.
However, it was not all plaing sailing for England on what was another searingly hot, engrossing day of Test cricket. The Three Lions were reduced to a precarious-looking position of 46/4, with Alastair Cook (12), Ben Duckett (15), Joe Root (1) and Gary Ballance (9) all falling cheaply.
But once again, Stokes and Bairstow stood strong for the tourists, recording a potentially match-winning partnership of 127 on what is an increasingly tricky surface. Stokes was the star of the show, though, scoring a mature 85 before he was trapped lbw by Shakib, who finished with impressive figures of 79/5.
"We did really well to take the wickets and restrict their runs this morning. Then obviously, to have a 260 or 270-odd run lead this evening, we're pretty pleased with that," Stokes told Sky Sports. "If they had have managed to build another partnership [it could have been troublesome], but thankfully they didn't."
England will hope to add a few more runs to their overnight score of 228/8 before seeking a hard-earned win in alien conditions on day four.