Younis Khan, Azhar Ali Tons Lay Solid Foundation For Pakistan
Pakistan 323-3 (Younis Khan 148) v Bangladesh
Second Test, Mirpur, day one
Younis Khan and Azhar Ali made responsible centuries in a 250-run partnership that helped Pakistan post an impressive 323 for three on day one of the second Test against Bangladesh in Mirpur.
Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bowl first on a pitch which had some movement for the seam bowlers early on.
They got a scare in the very first over when Shahadat Hossain (0-4) tumbled on his knee after just two balls needing treatment from the physio.
However, Bangladesh struck early, the other new ball bowler Mohammad Shahid (2-43) bowling a good delivery to get Mohammad Hafeez’s (8) edge.
Azhar (127 not out) walked in with confidence striking two fours off the first over from Bangladesh’s best bowler during the first Test in Khulna, Taijul Islam (1-102).
Shahid could have had a second wicket as Azhar edged one to third slip. However, the bowler overstepped giving a vital lifeline to Azhar, which proved to be extremely expensive.
After a sensible 49-run partnership, Sami Aslam (19) threw it away in spite of getting a start, skipping out to a middle stump delivery and whipping it airily only to be out caught.
Pakistan went into lunch at 70 for two after 28 overs.
Bangladesh were down on a bowler as Shahadat tumbled over again while warming up and trying to bowl on the practice pitches.
Younis (148) played aggressive cricket almost racing to catch Azhar up midway through the post-lunch session, hitting consecutive fours off Shakib Al Hasan (0-68).
Azhar reached his fifty first in the 45th over though with a single towards point.
Younis got to his fifty couple of overs later as well with a single. The duo soon brought up the first century third-wicket partnership for Pakistan against Bangladesh, while Azhar reached a major milestone of 3,000 runs in Test cricket.
Younis himself, after a steady start, slammed almost 50 runs at more than a run-a-ball.
Pakistan went into tea at 196 for two having played out the whole session of 31 overs without losing a wicket, Azhar nearing a century.
Not long after the tea break, Younis too got a lifeline as he was pouched by Shakib at cover, only for a no-ball to be called, as Soumya Sarkar (0-32) had overstepped.
Younis overtook Azhar to reach his 29th Test ton in the 69th over, with a couple to sweeper cover, equalling Don Bradman’s tally of Test centuries.
Azhar reached his century a couple of overs later with a lofted drive over mid-off that went for four.
The duo also brought up their double-century partnership. Amidst all that, Younis also managed to strike three handsome sixes, the last one off Taijul before Bangladesh opted for the new ball as soon as it was available.
Azhar edged one in the very first over but it didn’t carry to gully. Bangladesh finally managed to get the big wicket of Younis towards the end of the day in the 85th over, a cut that went straight to gully and was caught on the rebound.
That ended the 250-run partnership as well and Younis managed a strike-rate of nearly 76 during his 195-ball knock.
Pakistan eventually ended the day on 323 for three, Misbah-ul-Haq (9 not out) on the crease along with Azhar.
Bangladesh packed their side with all-rounders and as many as nine bowlers tried their hand on day one. However, their bowling largely lacked the punch to trouble the experience of Pakistan’s stalwarts.
For Bangladesh Shahid managed to pick up two wickets while Shakib continued to be ineffective and a tad expensive going at 4.85 runs per over.
© Cricket World 2015