Pakistan Pile On Runs and Agony Over Bangladesh
Pakistan 537-5 (Mohammad Hafeez 224) v
Bangladesh 332 (Mominul Haque 80)
First Test, Khulna, day three
Mohammad Hafeez helped himself to a maiden double-century as Pakistan accumulated a mountain of runs on day three of the first Test against Bangladesh in Khulna, putting themselves in a position of tremendous strength.
Pakistan resumed day three on 227 for one, Hafeez (224) and Azhar Ali (83) the overnight batsmen.
Hafeez eased himself in with a few fours to bring up his 150. He had some luck going his way with an edge going over the slips in the first half hour.
It took more than an hour and the best part of 14 overs for Bangladesh to get their first breakthrough of the day.
Against the run of play, Azhar suffered a lapse of concentration poking casually and half-heartedly at a quicker off-break that breached his defence, Shuvagata Hom (2-112) picking up the wicket.
Hafeez survived an lbw appeal as Tamim Iqbal, the stand-in skipper, went for a review. However, with the impact outside off, the review was wasted.
Hafeez shuddered away the nervousness with a six over long-on charging Shuvagata while Younis Khan (33) managed to look comfortable on a pitch that didn’t really have much for the bowlers.
Bangladesh took the new ball in the middle of the 83rd over but that didn’t help much. Pakistan got to lunch in an excellent position at 333 for two, scoring 106 at more than 3.5 per over.
Hafeez, who has earlier been dismissed twice in 190s, didn’t suffer the torment this time.
While he lost Younis, who fell to a tossed up delivery from Taijul Islam (3-116) that gripped and turned to uproot his off-stump, Hafeez breezed through the 190s with two fours.
Misbah-ul-Haq (59) announced himself with a six while Hafeez got to his maiden double-century with a couple gained through a sweep.
This is Hafeez’s third century in his last five innings, having missed a double and a ton earlier.
After having added 227 with Azhar and 62 with Younis, Hafeez eventually fell after a 63-run partnership with Misbah.
It came against the run of play, Hafeez lobbing a harmless delivery down the leg-side with a sweep, the ball coming off the gloves for Mahmudullah to take a fine catch at leg-slip.
However, the hallmark of the Pakistan innings were their partnerships.
Every wicket was preceded by at least a half-century partnership and Misbah managed to do the same, adding 66 for the fifth wicket with Asad Shafiq (51 not out).
Pakistan went into tea on 421 for four, extending their overall lead to 89 runs, with Shafiq and Misbah at the crease.
After tea, Shafiq became more aggressive even managing two consecutive fours off Mohammad Shahid (0-51), although he was lucky on one of them.
Misbah eventually top-edged a sweep to deep square leg, Taijul picking up the wicket again, an hour into the post-tea session.
There was a wasted review and quite a few long hops as Pakistan went to stumps without losing any more wickets.
In fact, Sarfraz Ahmed (51 not out) walked with aggressive intent and scored at almost a run a ball early on to get Pakistan moving faster.
He smashed a six and four off Mahmudullah (0-30) and equalled Shafiq at stumps even though he had played only half as many deliveries.
Pakistan ended the day on 537 for five, the lead going up to 205 with Sarfraz, with a strike-rate of 94, and Shafiq, also scoring a half-century, not out overnight.
The batsmen added an unbeaten 69 for the sixth wicket, the sixth half-century partnership of the innings, in just 16 overs, going at more than four per over.
For Bangladesh, it was hard toil as they failed to create too many chances, Taijul and Shuvagata being the pick of the bowlers, tossing up the odd ball and getting some purchase off the track.
Shakib Al Hasan (0-122) and Rubel Hossain (0-82), the strike bowlers with pace and spin, couldn’t really create too many chances, let alone taking wickets.
© Cricket World 2015