CHITTAGONG: Pakistan’s fast bowlers reduced Bangladesh to 39-4 in their second innings at the end of day three on Sunday to leave the first Test evenly poised.
Bangladesh had secured a 44-run lead after bowling out Pakistan for 286, thanks largely to the mesmerising bowling of left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, who returned figures of 7-116, after Abid Ali hit a century.
Instead, the home side ended the day by extending their lead to 83 runs but has just six wickets remaining. Mushfiqur Rahim, who made 91 in the first innings, was batting on 12 and Yasir Ali on 8 after surviving several close calls.
“I think we can’t take it [losing four wickets] as a disappointment. This is the nature of cricket, Taijul said. “Nobody wants to get out voluntarily. We came back after being four wickets down in the first innings. We hope to do the same in this innings too.”
Despite the first-innings deficit, Pakistan fought back through fast bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali who used the short ball to precision, leaving Bangladesh in a potentially precarious position.
Afridi cracked the game open, striking twice in his third over.
He trapped Shadman Islam leg-before for 1 with a ball that swung sharply and then two balls later had Najmul Hossain caught at first slip for a duck with a short ball.
His short ball again worked for him when opener Saif Hasan gave the return catch and was dismissed for 18.
Hasan also got into the act, dismissing captain Mominul Haque for a duck with a leading edge, leaving Bangladesh on 25-4.
“We will try our level best to bowl them out quickly and hopefully [the] spinners will get into action tomorrow as well,” Shaheen said. “Our target is to keep the target under 200.”
Abid earlier made 133 off 282 balls, holding one end for Pakistan for a long stretch after Taijul’s early strike of two wickets in two balls in the day’s first over.
“Some patches are forming in the wicket for both off-spinners and left-arm spinners,” he said. “But we will definitely try to achieve whatever target is set for us.”
Faheem Ashraf added 38 late in the innings to keep Pakistan in contention before he was last man dismissed.
Pakistan, who resumed on 145-0 and looked poised for a big total, suffered an early setback when Taijul trapped debutant Abdullah Shafique leg-before on his fifth ball.
Abdullah left without adding to his overnight 52, and Taijul took Azhar Ali for a duck in the very next ball when the delivery hit him on the foot.
Azhar was initially given not out but the decision was reversed on review.
Babar Azam saw off the hat-trick ball in Taijul’s next over but did not survive long. Mehidy uprooted his off-stump with a straight delivery after the Pakistan skipper made only 10 runs.
Taijul used his flight and variation well to curb the aggression of Pakistan’s batsmen and reaped the rewards again when he spun one sharply to dismiss Fawad Alam (8).
Bangladesh sought a review after the umpire turned down a confident caught-behind appeal.
The replay indicated the ball took a feather touch on Alam’s glove, ending his brief stay at the crease.
Ali, who struck 12 fours and two sixes, was also lucky to survive after he was dropped at slip by Najmul Hossain off Taijul at 113.
He was dropped again by Yasir Ali at forward short leg on 133 but it did not cost Bangladesh much, with Taijul taking him leg before two balls later.
Pakistan had by then lost Mohammad Rizwan to Ebadot Hossain, who bowled 2-47.
Taijul then dismissed Hasan for his seventh and second consecutive five-for.
Taijul said he had to play with extra responsibility in the absence of injured Shakib Al Hasan.
“Since he isn’t playing, I had to assume his role,” he said after stumps. “I have to manage the wicket-taker’s role as well as maintaining economy.”
BANGLADESH (1st Innings) 330
PAKISTAN (1st innings; overnight 145-0):
Abid Ali lbw b Taijul 133
Abdullah Shafique lbw b Taijul 52
Azhar Ali lbw b Taijul 0
Babar Azam b Mehidy 10
Fawad Alam c Liton b Taijul 8
Mohammad Rizwan lbw b Ebadot 5
Faheem Ashraf lbw b Taijul 38
Hasan Ali st Liton b Taijul 12
Sajid Khan b Ebadot 5
Nauman Ali lbw b Taijul 8
Shaheen Afridi not out 13
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-1) 2
TOTAL (all out; 115.4 overs) 286
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-146 (Abdullah), 2-146 (Azhar), 3-169 (Babar), 4-182 (Fawad), 5-207 (Rizwan), 6-217 (Abid), 7-229 (Hasan), 8-240 (Sajid), 9-257 (Nauman) .
BOWLING: Jayed 12-0-41-0, Ebadot
26-7-47-2, Taijul 44.4-9-116-7, Mehidy 30-7-68-1, Mominul 3-0-12-0.
BANGLADESH (2nd Innings):
Shadman Islam lbw b Shaheen 1
Saif Hasan c and b Shaheen 18
Najmul Hossain c Abdullah b Shaheen 0
Mominul Haque c Azhar b Hasan 0
Mushfiqur Rahim not out 12
Yasir Ali not out 8
TOTAL (for four wkts; 19 overs) 39
TO BAT: Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-14 (Shadman), 2-14 (Najmul), 3-15 (Mominul), 4-25 (Hasan).
BOWLING (to date): Shaheen 6-4-6-3, Hasan 5-0-19-1, Faheem 3-1-6-0, Nauman 4-2-7-0, Sajid 1-0-1-0.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2021