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The Report by Siddarth Ravindran
December 18, 2011
Pakistan 87 for 1 (Taufeeq 44*, Azhar 26*) trail Bangladesh 338 (Shakib 144, Shahriar 97) by 251 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
News : 'Had to work really hard for this century' - Shakib
Matches: Bangladesh v Pakistan at Dhaka
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of Bangladesh
Until the Bangladesh lower-order collapse in the afternoon, the only impediment to the home side's progress had been the fog in Mirpur, which wiped out an hour's play. Shakib and Mushfiqur crafted a slow-and-steady stand once it cleared, to give the small but vocal crowd something to cheer about on a chilly morning.
Shakib made his highest first-class score and was headed for Bangladesh's record individual Test effort when he was run-out. Mushfiqur took a few quick steps before stopping and sending Shakib back, but a direct hit from Taufeeq Umar, running in from mid-on, was enough to snap the partnership at 82. Shakib walked off, after several glares at his captain over the poor calling.
Whether that had an effect on Mushfiqur is hard to tell, but the very next delivery, he gloved a catch down the leg side to the wicketkeeper which left two new lower-order batsmen at the crease, and Pakistan sniffing a quick end to the innings. Elias Sunny and Shahadat Hossain rode their luck in a brief, entertaining stand - Sunny survived as an Umar Gul delivery kissed off stump without disturbing the bails, and Shahadat was put down by Abdur Rehman at deep midwicket.
The innings ended in a hurry, though, as Saeed Ajmal's doosra proved too much for the tailenders, and a run-out curtailed Nazmul Hossain's first Test knock in seven years to a single delivery.
In contrast, Pakistan had little to celebrate in the morning. There was little movement on offer for the quick bowlers and even with the second new ball Gul and Aizaz Cheema couldn't get any major deviation. With the old ball, Pakistan's dangerous spin pair of Ajmal and Rehman got some turn, but were blunted by Shakib and Mushfiqur.
Shakib hit only one boundary in the first session, and survived several lbw calls and an outside edge that landed short of slip. While he was circumspect, Mushfiqur was more enterprising. There was a powerful swipe over midwicket for six off Ajmal, and he picked up several boundaries with his favoured cut shot. They took Bangladesh past 300 in Tests for only the second time since May 2010, but their back-to-back dismissals restricted the innings to a far lower score than expected.
There was something to buoy the home side as they went in for tea. They removed Mohammad Hafeez, who has had a great run in 2011, including a big century in the previous Test. He had begun ominously, swatting consecutive boundaries in the third over, but nicked Nazmul's first ball in Tests in seven years, to be dismissed for 14.
Bangladesh's bowlers gifted easy runs till late in the final session, when the spinners Shakib and Mahmudullah kept the batsmen in check. There was an early close call for Azhar Ali, who unwisely shouldered arms to a delivery that nipped in from Robiul, narrowly avoiding a supremely confident shout for lbw. He wasn't at his most assured against the spinners either, beaten several times by the big turn Shakib was extracting, and once edging just wide of the slips.
Taufeeq Umar was more confident, initially capitalising on the loose deliveries on offer. There were plenty of cuts and drives as he picked up eight boundaries on his way to 44, before bad light expectedly ended play an hour early. There's still plenty of work to do for the Pakistan batting but with their increasingly reliable middle order, they will fancy their chances of overhauling Bangladesh's total.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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