Bangladesh v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Chittagong December 6, 2011

Pakistan spinners seal clean sweep

Pakistan 177 (Umar 57, Misbah 47, Razzak 3-21, Mahmudullah 3-4) beat Bangladesh 119 (Mahmudullah 35, Hafeez 3-27, Malik 3-6) by 58 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Bangladesh had an opportunity to end a losing streak against Pakistan that has lasted 12 years, but the visiting spinners were good enough to put the target of 178 far out of their reach. The track was tailored to suit Bangladesh's strength - spin - but it backfired since they didn't have the batsmen capable of sticking it out long enough to entertain thoughts of earning a consolation win.

Pakistan took the series 3-0, but not without some sweat. Their batsmen too were found wanting against spin, losing nine wickets to the slower men and failing to bat out 50 overs. In the context of the struggles faced by the batsmen from both sides, the stand of 94 between Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal proved the difference. Bangladesh had a similar foundation going between Shahriar Nafees and Mahmudullah, but a floodlight failure disturbed the concentration of the well-set pair and brought about a power-shift towards Pakistan's spinners. Bangladesh crumbled quickly from then, losing their last nine wickets for 50 runs.

Having lost Tamim Iqbal first ball, the pressure was on Bangladesh, with a slip and short leg and the new balls turning and bouncing. The pair of Nafees and Mahmudullah were watchful but importantly, ensured they didn't go scoreless for lengthy periods - a factor in Bangladesh's previous defeats this series. Mahmudullah slogged Mohammad Hafeez in the third over to get the first boundary bogey off the team's back.

The pair gave Bangladesh the edge with a stand of 69, essayed with sweeps off Abdur Rehman and cuts off Shahid Afridi, who in his urgency to break an unusual wicketless-streak - which has lasted two matches - fired the ball too flat.

The interruption after the 15th over, caused a downturn in Bangladesh's fortunes. Saeed Ajmal trapped Nafees lbw playing down the wrong line, before Rehman caught Mushfiqur Rahim in front while trying to sweep. Bangladesh lost their third wicket in as many overs when Hafeez got one to turn sharply and trap Mahmudullah on the backfoot. Both Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain were out cheaply , spooning catches as the chase fell off the rails.

The lower order had no respite. The parsimonious Saeed Ajmal, bowling round the wicket, was scoreless off the bat for 28 successive deliveries. He was lucky, though, to get Farhad Reza lbw, off a thick inside edge. Bangladesh had a semblance of a recovery with a stand of 34 between Reza and Alok Kapali, but the howler cut short their hopes.

The pitch wasn't exactly a minefield, as Misbah and Umar showed. The ball gripped, turned, bounced and forced the visitors to concentrate more than they've had to so far in the series. They had their anxious moments with the ball keeping low, some sliding past the outside edge and the stumps. It wasn't easy for the wicketkeeper Mushfiqur, who by the 15th over had already conceded 12 byes, a Bangladesh record.

Coming in at 39 for 3, Misbah and Umar steadied the innings with a watchful approach against spin. Misbah opened up against Elias Sunny, hammering boundaries to midwicket and down the ground. He also tried disturbing the bowler's rhythm by moving across his stumps to paddle, at times bringing out the reverse sweep. Umar used his feet well, though it was one of his more patient knocks as he regularly came forward to smother the spin and defend. Umar fetched two sixes off Nasir, using his feet for both.

The tide turned when Misbah departed, making room and spooning a catch to short extra cover off Razzak. The wickets started to tumble, leaving Umar with greater responsibility than he would have expected. However, he too trooped off to the pavilion, beaten for turn and bounce by Sunny. Mahmudullah triggered an early end to the innings, assisted by Mushfiqur, who by then was seeing the ball like a football in fading light.

Bangladesh walked off after wrapping up Pakistan a more confident unit. Unfortunately, they couldn't counter the most penetrative spin attack in the world.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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