DHAKA: Off-spinner Sajid Khan claimed a career-best 6-35 as Pakistan reduced Bangladesh to 76-7 and produced a glimmer of hope of forcing a result in the second and final Test on Tuesday.
After day three was washed out, Pakistan resumed the fourth day from 188-2 and declared at 300-4 after lunch. Then spinners Sajid and Nauman Ali got to work until stumps was called an hour early because of bad light at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Bangladesh trailed by 224 runs and still needed 25 runs to avoid the follow-on at the end of a dramatic day.
“After the declaration, our target was to give us the best chance to win the game and attack relentlessly and that’s what we did,” Sajid said.
“Fortunately, there was turn and bounce aplenty. We two spinners bowled in partnership. We will try to get the three wickets tomorrow and force them to bat again and win the game.”
Bangladesh’s last hope to avoid the follow-on was Shakib Al Hasan on 23. Taijul Islam was with him, the tailender yet to score after facing 10 balls.
With the light insufficient to allow any more than just the one over from fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sajid and Nauman bowled relentlessly in a desperate bid to win the rain-hit game.
Rain and bad light have eaten up the majority of the game and just 63.2 overs were possible in the last three days.
Nauman was slightly luckless, ending up without a wicket, but he gave the control that allowed Sajid to rip through the Bangladesh lineup.
Sajid dismissed all but skipper Mominul Haque, who was run out for 1 by a direct hit from Hasan Ali at point.
The Bangladesh batsmen, however, also invited the trouble by playing rash shots as if it was a Twenty20 game.
“The wicket was difficult and, here, we understand a defensive mindset won’t work,” said Najmul Hosain, who has top-scored for the side with 30. “So during batting, our plan was to play our natural game and score runs quickly but, unfortunately, the execution was not good.”
Opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy got a duck on his debut after poking at a flighted delivery to slip, and his opening partner Shadman Islam was baffled by extra bounce.
Mominul was run out, and Bangladesh went to tea at 22-3.
Experienced batsman Mushfiqur Rahim deepened the crisis by playing a slog-sweep to gift his wicket for 5.
Liton Das, who hit 114 and 59 in the first Test, was on 6 when he charged Sajid, while Mehidy Hasan was bowled for a duck while trying to sweep a delivery that turned sharply.
Shakib fought back with some aggression of his own to hit three fours and survive a run out chance to give some small relief for Bangladesh.
After a delayed start due to early morning rain and a wet outfield, Pakistan scored briskly in a bid to put pressure on Bangladesh.
Babar Azam and Azhar Ali added only five runs to their partnership before it finished on 123 for the third wicket. Azhar top-edged a delivery from fast bowler Ebadot Hossain on 56, and Babar quickly followed, leg before on 76 to give fast bowler Khaled Ahmed his maiden Test wicket.
Bangladesh were back in the contest, but Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan played with caution to combine for a 107-run unbeaten fifth-wicket stand. Both of them reached half-centuries Rizwan on 53 and Alam on 50 when Babar declared the innings.
Rizwan was given out twice, on zero and 12, off the bowling of Ebadot and Taijul Islam respectively, but on both occasions he survived on review.
Taijul took the first two Pakistan wickets, on the opening day, before rain interrupted the game.
Pakistan lead the two-Test series 1-0 after an eight-wicket win in Chittagong.
PAKISTAN (1st innings; overnight 188-2):
Abid Ali b Taijul 39
Abdullah Shafique b Taijul 25
Azhar Ali c Liton b Ebadot 56
Babar Azam lbw b Khaled 76
Fawad Alam not out 50
Mohammad Rizwan not out 53
EXTRAS (LB-1) 1
TOTAL (for four wkts declared; 98.3 overs) 300
DID NOT BAT: Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Hasan Ali, Sajid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-59 (Shafique), 2-70 (Abid), 3-193 (Azhar), 4-197 (Babar).
BOWLING: Ebadot 23-3-88-1, Khaled 17.3-5-49-1, Shakib 19-7-52-0, Taijul 25-6-73-2, Mehidy 14-2-37-0.
BANGLADESH (1st innings):
Shadman Islam c Hasan b Sajid 3
Mahmudul Hasan c Babar b Sajid 0
Najmul Hossain lbw b Sajid 30
Mominul Haque run out 1
Mushfiqur Rahim c Alam b Sajid 5
Liton Das c & b Sajid 6
Shakib Al Hasan not out 23
Mehidy Hasan b Sajid 0
Taijul Islam not out 0
EXTRAS (B-5, LB-2, NB-1) 8
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 26 overs) 76
YET TO BAT: Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain.
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-1 (Mahmudul), 2-20 (Shadman), 3-22 (Mominul), 4-31 (Mushfiqur), 5-46 (Liton), 6-65 (Najmul), 7-71 (Mehidy).BOWLING: Shaheen 1-1-0-0, Nauman 12-2-33-0 (nb1), Sajid 12-3-35-6, Babar 1-0-1-0.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2021