England need just two wickets to avert one of the most damaging defeats in their history but Bangladesh require only 33 runs to claim a historic maiden Test victory over their opponents.
A spellbinding final morning is in the pipeline in Chittagong after an absorbing fourth day ended with the Tigers closing on 253 for eight in pursuit of 286, which would be their highest successful fourth-innings chase.
Gareth Batty took three valuable wickets, including the scalp of Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, whose 87-run stand with Sabbir Rahman threatened to take the hosts to victory.
Rahman lurks menacingly on 59 not out and he is likely to be the key if Bangladesh are to claim just their eighth win in Tests – and surely their most significant, following two victories over an under-strength West Indies and five over lowly Zimbabwe.
Bangladesh, whose previous highest successful fourth-innings chase was the 217 for six they made against the West Indies in July 2009, have not played Test cricket in nearly 15 months but they have shown no signs of rustiness against England.
On a pitch that is still offering prodigious amounts of turn as well as variable bounce now, England added just 12 runs to their overnight score as Stuart Broad was run out in the second over after attempting a quick single, while Gareth Batty was pinned in front by Taijul Islam.
Batty challenged the decision for the 20th review in the match, a world record, to no avail as England were all out for 240, largely thanks to the efforts of Ben Stokes (85) and Jonny Bairstow (47) on Saturday.
Imrul Kayes helped Bangladesh make a superb start although Tamim Iqbal, their top-scorer in the first innings, led a charmed life.
He twice lofted short of fielders at mid-off, before sharp turn from Moeen Ali defeated the opener and Joe Root finally clung on at first slip – only for England’s review to indicate the ball had missed both bat and glove.
Tamim lasted just one more ball, which he inside edged on to his pads and to short leg, although Kayes was more free-flowing at the other end, sweeping the spinners well from the outset.
But he fell for 43 off 61 balls when he got a fine edge to a sweep which looped over wicketkeeper Bairstow and was taken by Root at slip.
That tilted the balance and Batty recovered from a poor opening spell to put England in the ascendancy with a double strike early in the afternoon.
A fuller ball saw Mominul Haque trapped lbw for 27, with England overturning the umpire’s not out verdict on review, before Mahmudullah fell in almost identical circumstances in the next over – although his challenge was unsuccessful.
Moeen then flighted a delivery which spun sharply and drew the edge of Shakib Al Hasan’s bat, with Bairstow pouching, to put England firmly on top.
Mushfiqur kept his cool and kept the scoring rate ticking over with the odd boundary and he found a willing ally in Rahman, who bludgeoned Moeen for two straight sixes to give Bangladesh renewed hope.
The target slowly crept into double figures at the start of a tense evening session but Mushfiqur and Rahman were wary against the seamers as they went without a boundary for 19 overs.
But just as Mushfiqur looked to cut loose, Batty was reintroduced into the attack and he extracted some sharp bounce to take the bat handle, with Gary Ballance taking a the catch at short leg.
Rahman, dropped on 34 by a diving Bairstow, brought up a fine half-century under pressure by dancing down the track and drilling Batty for four.
But Broad trapped Mehedi Hasan lbw and Kamrul Islam Rabbi popped a catch to short leg with 49 still needed, putting England back in the driving seat once more.
Batty should have had a fourth when he induced the edge of Taijul, but Stokes, arguably England’s best fielder, spilled the chance at gully.
Taijul slugged Batty for four in the off-spinner’s next over in descending darkness and bad light then forced an early end to the day, setting up a thrilling finale on Monday morning.
Source : TalkSport