Pakistan Strong Arm Bangladesh Off The Box Seat To Take Control
Pakistan 227-1 (Mohammad Hafeez 137 no) v
Bangladesh 332 (Mominul Haque 80)
First Test, Khulna, day two
Mohammad Hafeez scored a fine unbeaten century as Pakistan ruined Bangladesh’s start and got a solid one of their own on day two of the first Test between the two teams in Khulna.
Bangladesh resumed the day on 236 for four, Mushfiqur Rahim (32) the new man after Mominul Haque’s (80) dismissal ended play on day one.
Pakistan didn’t have to wait too long for a breakthrough as Zulfiqar Babar (2-99) got Shakib Al Hasan (25) in the fourth over of the day with a full leg-stump delivery.
The ball provoked a brain fade as Shakib, looking to go big, managed only an inside edge, Asad Shafiq pouching a sharp catch at leg slip.
Both Mushfiqur and Soumya Sarkar (33) motored along at a very good clip with a four almost every over. The duo added 62 runs in over 18 overs until recklessness got the better of Sarkar.
Shafiq pulled off another stunner of a catch running to his left from cover as Sarkar hit one airily, aiming down the ground but slicing square off the bowling of Hafeez (2-47).
It turned out to be a double blow for Bangladesh as Mushfiqur went the very next over to Yasir Shah (3-86) playing a soft chip to covers after controlling a full-blooded cut off a leg-spinning delivery.
In the same over, Pakistan went for a review for a catch behind but Taijul Islam (1) survived it after insufficient evidence was produced to overrule the on-field umpires’ call.
However, Taijul didn’t occupy the crease for much longer, his leg stump rattled by a googly from Yasir, leaving Bangladesh at 312 for eight at lunch, largely because of good catching and tight bowling on a placid track.
Wahab Riaz (3-55) removed Mohammad Shahid (10) straight after lunch with a short and fast delivery.
In his next over, he closed the innings, getting Rubel Hossain (2) to nick a fuller one outside off.
Bangladesh managed to go from 236 for three to 332 all out.
They looked really good even at 305 for five before they lost their last five wickets for 27 runs in just over eight overs either side of lunch.
The top eight Bangladesh batsmen all got to double figures but managed only two half-centuries; Tamim’s 25 was the lowest amongst the top seven, as Bangladesh will rue a missed opportunity to bat Pakistan out of the game.
Pakistan started strongly, Hafeez (137 not out) showing signs of the batsman that he used to be and not the one who played the One-Day International series recently.
After a couple of fours, he was given out caught behind but Hafeez went for the review immediately.
Much to his delight the decision was overturned.
Debutant Sami Aslam (20) gained some confidence with two fours off Rubel (0-50), one a drive and another a fine glance.
He even smashed a six off all-rounder Shuvagata Hom (0-34), a clean lofted drive over long-on.
After adding a quick 50 in just under 12 overs, Pakistan lost their first wicket as Sami gloved one down the leg-side, off Taijul’s (1-43) bowling.
It was given not out but Bangladesh managed to get the decision overturned with a review.
The in-form Azhar Ali (65 not out) was playing himself in when he was dropped on 11, the slip fielder failing to take a deflection from the wicket-keeper’s gloves, off the bowling of Shakib (0-57).
Hafeez brought up his half-century in fine style with a pull for a six off Shakib and Pakistan went into tea at 84 for one in a strong reply to Bangladesh’s innings.
They continued in the post-tea session with some intelligent batting, turning the strike over continuously and maintaining a very healthy run-rate.
Hafeez became only the sixth Pakistan batsman to make hundreds in three consecutive Tests, eventually reaching his ton with two consecutive flicks for four off Rubel.
By the end of the over, Pakistan almost had a run-rate of four per over. The duo also added a hundred for the second wicket.
Bangladesh's woes worsened when Mushfiqur had to be rushed for an X-Ray on his right ring finger.
The batsmen pressed the accelerator too taking Shakib for 11 runs as Azhar brought up his fifty with a lofted drive down the ground for a six, even as stand-in captain Tamim was finding it hard to get the breakthrough.
Pakistan closed the day on an impressive 227 for one, playing out an entire session without giving away any wickets.
More importantly, they managed to score 143 runs in that session of just 33 overs at more than four per over. Hafeez scored at a strike-rate of 76 and the duo managed 177 in 46.1 overs.
With Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan still to come they will hope for a big score on the third day.
Bangladesh used eight bowlers but only Taijul managed to take a wicket and bowl economically.
Shakib and Rubel, the Bangladesh strike bowlers, went at more than 4.5 per over.
© Cricket World 2015