2nd Test, Chattogram, September 04 - 07, 2017, Australia tour of Bangladesh
305 & 157
(T:86) 377 & 87/3

Australia won by 7 wickets


Lyon, Warner power series-saving Australia victory

Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell took charge of a small target in fading light, after Lyon had made the sprint finish possible by scooping his third six-wicket haul in succession

Australia 377 (Warner 123, Handscomb 82, Smith 58, Mustafizur 4-84) and 87 for 3 (Maxwell 25*) beat Bangladesh 305 (Mushfiqur 68, Sabbir 66, Lyon 7-94) and 157 (Lyon 6-60) by seven wickets
History beckoned for Bangladesh this week, but it was the indefatigable Nathan Lyon who chose Chittagong to make plenty of his own and thus earn Australia a share of the series on a dramatic fourth day. Asian Test matches often move slowly before reaching a quick conclusion, and the visitors showed how much their knowledge of the game in this part of the world has grown by seizing the moment to pressure Bangladesh and emerge victorious with no little flourish.
Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell took charge of a small target in fading light, after Lyon had made the sprint finish possible by scooping his third six-wicket haul in succession and scooping up a hatful of records in the process. Not least of these was the best haul by an Australian bowler in a two match series, a terrific 22 wickets, surpassing spin luminaries such as Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill.
Lyon's mastery of flight, change of pace, spin and bounce were a delight to watch, and also a reminder of how the art of spin bowling is most often learned gradually over a period of years. Six years after claiming the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara with his very first ball in Test cricket on a crusty surface in Galle, Lyon is very much the finished article, with only and Lance Gibbs ahead of him among the most prolific classical offspinners in history. (Muttiah Muralitharan was, really, more of the unorthodox variety)
Much credit was also due to Pat Cummins, who used his pace and fire to great effect in a pair of impactful spells as Australia's only selected quick. The wickets of Soumya Sarkar and the captain Mushfiqur Rahim were reward, too, for how bravely he had toiled on the first day, when the Australians gained a foothold in the match by restricting Bangladesh on a pitch that offered precious little before growing friendlier to bowlers of all types as the match went on.
Bangladesh needed only a draw to claim their first ever series win over Australia and only the fourth in their 17 years as a Test match nation, but ultimately lost control of proceedings when the Australians pressed. Victory for Smith's side prevented the visitors from sinking to sixth in the ICC world rankings ahead of a home Ashes series.
For all their prickly on-field posturing, Bangladesh had entered the Test with a strategy of conservatism aimed at securing that draw, perhaps with an eye on an unpromising weather forecast that ultimately only robbed the contest of one full session throughout. They dawdled at times with the bat on day one, and then did little to pressure a noticeably fatigued Handscomb on the second evening when, as was later proven, the Australian middle order beyond him was still highly vulnerable.
All that will be a lesson to Mushfiqur's team, while at the same time the standard of the two-match contest suggested Bangladesh will in future merit a third Test and also a more comprehensive preparation for Australia. Lyon had been quickly dismissed when play resumed half an hour early due to Wednesday's showers, Lyon snicking Mustafizur Rahman with plenty of carry through to the slips. Cummins was likewise able to get plenty of vertical assistance when he took the new ball, while Lyon started up his spell from the other end.
Soumya Sarkar did not last long before edging a well-directed Cummins delivery from around the wicket, the ball sailing comfortably through to Matt Renshaw at first slip. Tamim Iqbal seemed intent on taking the attack to Lyon, but misjudged his opponent's flight, dip and spin to find himself stranded down the wicket as the ball turned past him. Matthew Wade still had plenty to do as the ball bounced high, but gloved it cleanly and completed an excellent stumping.
Only five more runs had been added when Imrul Kayes was confounded by a Lyon delivery that turned, bounced and also held in the pitch, resulting in an ineffectual forcing stroke that spooned gently to Glenn Maxwell at cover. Australian celebrations grew still more triumphant when Shakib Al Hasan was unable to cover Lyon's overspin and bounce, the ball flying from the shoulder of the bat into the hands of a helmeted David Warner at second slip.
At the other end Nasir Hossain seemed intent on driving anything Steve O'Keefe tossed up - despite plenty of turn - before a straighter delivery also jumped and flew off an edge high on the bat to Smith at slip. O'Keefe had clearly not forgotten Hossain's mimic of Nigel Llong's raised finger to dismiss Cummins the night before, offering the "shhh" gesture to the vanquished batsman.
At that point Bangladesh were 43 for five and still 29 runs in deficit. But Mushfiqur and Sabbir were able to staunch some of the bleeding, helped by a successful appeal against a Llong lbw verdict from O'Keefe's bowling due to an inside edge, then next ball a decidedly optimistic review of another lbw appeal that was found to be well outside the line. Tensions were high between both sides, leading the umpire Ian Gould to counsel Mushfiqur to cool down in the final over of a hectic morning.
The Bangladeshi pair continued to live dangerously when play resumed, as a series of reverse-sweep attempts failed to make contact and left the ball to spin agonisingly close to the stumps before going for byes. This was no fault of Wade, who maintained a very strong Test match behind the stumps by staying low to complete another stumping when Sabbir left his crease to Lyon and was beaten by a lack of bounce.
Mushfiqur's second long innings of the match gave Bangladesh the merest glimmer of a defendable lead, but the return of Cummins brought another sharply bouncing delivery and a thin edge through to Wade. Cummins' spell was fast and hostile, causing further pain for Mehidy Hasan when a short ball struck his thumb and then went on to clatter the grill of his helmet - the contact so firm that it knocked the neck guard off his helmet.
While Mehidy endured bravely, Mominul Haque top edged a sweep at Lyon, leaving Cummins to run in from backward square leg and claim a terrific catch a few centimetres above the ground as he dived forward. The innings did not last long after tea, as Lyon slid a quicker ball through the defences of Taijul Islam, his 13th wicket of the match, before a similar offering from O'Keefe defeated the last man Mustafizur.
Left with a minimum 20 overs plus an extra half hour to chase the runs, the Australians wasted little time, though wickets fell at a rate that suggested a target of around 150 would have been extremely challenging. David Warner, whose hundreds in successive innings showed his own process of Asian adaptation, was bounced out for the second time in the match, before Smith and Matt Renshaw edged the spinning ball behind.
However Handscomb and Maxwell were in no mood to let the match drag on into the final day, using their feet and picking gaps. Maxwell ended it with a mighty six, ensuring that Lyon's brilliance was not wasted in a losing cause.
The drawn series, though, meant Australia dropped to fifth on the ICC Test team rankings, falling behind New Zealand on decimal points, while Bangladesh remained ninth.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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