Babar helps Pakistan recover on first day

Published December 5, 2021
PAKISTAN captain Babar Azam plays a shot during the second Test against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Saturday.—AFP
PAKISTAN captain Babar Azam plays a shot during the second Test against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Saturday.—AFP

DHAKA: Skipper Babar Azam struck a half-century to help Pakistan recover from early trouble and reach 161-2 against Bangladesh on the opening day of the second Test, which was halted several times for bad light and rain on Saturday.

The bad light finally ended play with Babar batting on 60 and Azhar Ali on 36.

Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam (2-49) bowled brilliantly in the morning session to put Bangladesh on top after the visitors seemed headed towards a big score.

Openers Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique brought up 50-run partnership in the first hour as Babar elected to bat first after winning the toss.

Abid struck the first three boundaries of the day as the Bangladeshi pacers erred their length. Shafique hit the lone six of the day off Taijul to join Abid in lighting up the scoreboard.

But Taijul broke the 59-run partnership, denying the pairs third century-opening stand as his straight delivery rattled the stump of Abdullah on 25.

After his 133 and 91 in the first Test, Abid had appeared set for another big score but fell for 39 when Taijul again struck with a straight delivery that didn’t turn as much as he expected.

Babar and Azhar survived several tricky moments at the outset of their innings, particularly against Taijul.

The hosts could have swung the momentum had Khaled Ahmed not put down a tough chance, offered by Babar on 39 off left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan’s bowling.

Babar then guided a length delivery of off-spinner Mehidy Hasan for a couple to reach his 19th test 50 off 75 balls.

Azhar, meanwhile, looked shaky and was hit on his helmet by a bouncer of pacer Ebadot Hossain. But he continued to bat to accompany Babar in steadying the innings.

Pakistan lead the two-Test series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Chittagong by eight wickets.

The visitors fielded an unchanged squad from the first Test while Bangladesh handed Mahmudul Hasan a Test debut and brought in Shakib and Khaled Ahmed in three changes to the team.Saif Hassan, Yasir Ali and Abu Jayed were dropped from the opening Test.—Agencies

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN (1st Innings):

Abid Ali b Taijul 39

Abdullah Shafique b Taijul 25

Azhar Ali not out 36

Babar Azam not out 60

EXTRAS (LB-1) 1

TOTAL (for two wickets, 57 overs) 161

STILL TO BAT: Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Hasan Ali, Sajid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-59 (Shafique), 2-70 (Abid)

BOWLING (to-date): Ebadot

9-1-28-0; Khaled 4-1-19-0; Shakib 15-6-33-0; Taijul 17-5-49-2; Mehidy 12-2-31-0

UMPIRES: Michael Gough (England), Sharfuddoula (Bangladesh)

TV UMPIRE: Gazi Sohel (Bangladesh)

MATCH REFEREE: Neeyamur Rashid (Bangladesh)

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2021

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