Bangladesh vs Pakistan, 2nd Test: Pakistan up against the clock and weather
With only three sessions of play left on the fifth and final day wicket, Pakistan through some imaginative captaincy of Babar Azam, have created an interesting scenario.
Bangladesh *76/7 (26 ov)
Pakistan 300/4d (98.3 ov)
Day Break : Day 4 Bangladesh trail by 224 runs.
By claiming seven Bangladesh wickets in 26 overs, the tourists will need to claim last three wickets within 25 runs to force a follow on. Another glaring example of white ball cricket having a positive impact on Test matches.
The big chunk of the second Test between Bangladesh and Pakistan at Mirpur, Dhaka has gone down the drain through bad light and rain. So much so that after just 6.2 overs on the second day, the third day was a complete washout. Even today play could only start at 10.50am local time, leaving time for a possible 86 overs, weather permitting. On resumption today from their score of 188-2, Pakistan lost Azhar Ali (56) and Babar (76) quite early on.
There was simply not enough total on the board for the tourists and to bowl out Bangladesh twice. The team management does not seem to have given up just as yet and instead of batting on meaninglessly towards an inevitable draw and using the Test match to aim for personal batting milestones, opted for a more positive approach. The two batsmen – Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan, took the score to 242-4 at lunch and upped the tempo in the middle session. Both recorded their individual fifties and Pakistan declared their innings at 300-4. Left-handed Fawad (50 not out) and wicket-keeper Rizwan (53 not out) had added 103 for the fifth wicket, in attempt to give their side an outside chance to force an unlikely win, in four and a half sessions left in the match. A hint of uneven bounce might lead to interesting battle between bat and ball.
Bangladesh faced with a slow bowler from one end, made a poor start which in no time turned into a nightmare. After off-spinner Sajid Khan accounted for both openers – Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Shadman Islam, the skipper Mominul Haque was run out from a direct throw by Hasan Ali. It would leave the hosts on 22-3 in 10.1 overs. Immediately after the break Mushfiqur Rahim was caught off Sajid to make it 43-4 and it was an ill-advised attempt to force the pace. The slow left-armer Nauman Ali, maintaining pressure from the opposite end, had Liton Das in the bag but for his overstepping. Bangladesh top order has failed to create much impression against Pakistan bowling in the present Test series. Shortly afterwards, Das too was guilty of a rash stroke and was the fourth victim for Sajid and his team reeling on 46-5, still another 55 runs adrift to save the follow on.
Apparently oblivious of the dire straits, Shakib Al Hasan, chose to adopt a route more akin to T20 requirement. It was certainly a questionable approach. The attacking field-setting by Babar allowed few boundaries but Sajid accounted for Najmul Hossain, who had 30 to his name and Pakistan could smell blood now amidst the chaos. A chaos very much self-created by Bangladesh batsmen in red-ball cricket that has often found them wanting in terms of skill-level and temperament.
With bad light still a lingering issue, Babar was pleased with the scoreboard showing 76-7 but could not ask one of his pace bowlers to finish off the tail and instead came on himself. His over proved to be the last of the day as play could not resume after the drinks break. Bowling unchanged Sajid has been the star amongst Pakistan bowlers and his figures of 12-3-35-6 are a just reward for keeping up the pressure with persistent line and length. Given the opportunity, the 28-year old off-spinner is set to play a crucial part on the final day.