RAWALPINDI: Pakistan wrapped up proceedings of the first Test against Bangladesh at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Monday, beating the visitors by an innings and 44 runs on the fourth day of the contest and ensuring an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
This was Pakistan’s first victory at the venue in 23 years. The last time the home side won at Pindi was against the West Indies in 1997.
Bangladesh, with four wickets in hand, needed 86 runs to avoid the eventual innings defeat at the start of the days’ play, but the Pakistan attack had no plans to play for more than a session and it did the job in only 85 minutes of play.
“Our bowlers stuck to their tasks and bowled with a lot of patience. It was a great job to bowl them out for 233 (in first innings) that setup the match for us,” Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said.
The visiting captain Mominul Haque was hoping to provide some damage control along with wicket-keeper batsman Liton Das after 16-year-old pacer Nasim Shah rolled over Bangladesh with a hat-trick, leaving them reeling at 126-6 at the end of the third day.
Pakistan’s other fast-bowler, the left-armer Shaheen Shah Afridi, though, killed that hope on the sixth ball of the day, trapping Mominul leg-before with a full inswinger as the left-hander went for a flick. Mominul at 41 off 93 balls took a consolatory review which unsurprisingly ended up being unsuccessful.
Liton was joined by Rubel Hossain after their skipper’s departure and the new pair managed a 26 run partnership during which the Bangladesh wicket-keeper showed some grit, adding 21 with four boundaries.
Rubel’s 26-ball support was over in the 12th over of the day when medium-pacer Mohammad Abbas brought it in sharply to hit the right-hander’s pads plumb in front of the stumps. The tailender scored five runs.
Liton held on and even took leg-spinner Yasir Shah to the stands beyond the square-leg boundary. But that was only before Yasir trapped him leg-before in his next over as Liton went for an expansive sweep. Initially given not out by Nigel Llong, the right-hander’s dismissal was confirmed after Pakistan took a review.
Yasir, who has not really been among wickets since the last couple of years, wrapped it all up with his fourth wicket, making Abu Jayed play him to the slips. The leg-spinner finished with figures of 4-58.
“We didn’t bat well in both innings on a flat wicket and it was a disappointing performance,” Bangladesh skipper Mominul said. “No team can come back from such situations.”
Nasim, who left the field at the end of the third day after pain on the left side of his ribcage, did not feature on Monday, but that did not stop him from being awarded with the man-of-the-match prize.
“I had a muscle pull but the scan is clear, I should be able to resume bowling in two days,” Nasim said after receiving the award. “Picking up a hat-trick in front of your home crowd is special. I only hope I will be able to live up to the expectation of fans and team-mates.”
Pakistan, with 140 points, are in fouth in the ICC World Test Championship table behind India (360), Australia (296) and England (146).
Bangladesh are struggling at the bottom in the nine-team tournament after they were beaten by an innings for the fifth time in their last six Test matches. They return to Pakistan in April to play the second Test of the series and a solitary One-day International, both in Karachi.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2020