Bangladesh v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Mirpur, 5th day December 21, 2011

Rehman's best sets up clean sweep


Pakistan 470 (Taufeeq 130, Misbah 70, Azhar 57, Akmal 53, Shakib 6-82) and 107 for 3 beat Bangladesh 338 (Shakib 144, Nafees 97) and 234 (Nasir 79, Mushfiqur 53, Rehman 4-51) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pakistan capped off a fruitful year in cricket by completing a clean sweep against Bangladesh in Mirpur on a drama-filled day that showcased the unpredictability of Test cricket.

In the first session, Nasir Hossain and Mushfiqur Rahim batted sensibly, not especially worried about the runs which they were collecting, making the draw seem the likeliest result. In the second, a combination of kamikaze batting and smart spin bowling resulted in Bangladesh losing their final five wickets for 22 runs, leaving Pakistan the seemingly straightforward target of 103. It wasn't though, as Pakistan faced a race against the fading light in the final session, and needed some intrepid batting to secure the victory in the gloom.

There was a helping hand from the weather for Bangladesh early on, as the usual morning fog delayed the start by an hour and a half. Bangladesh's batting has posted 250 in both innings of a Test only four times in the past seven years, and as play began the worry was the home side would fold on a fifth-day track, particularly against Pakistan's versatile spin attack.

Those fears were quelled in the morning as Nasir went on to his maiden half-century while Mushfiqur made his second important contribution with the bat as the pair put on a century stand. After lunch, though, Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal bamboozled the lower order to revive fading Pakistan hopes of a victory.

It was Rehman who did the major damage after the interval. Nasir was hoodwinked by a straighter delivery that beat the bat and crashed into the stumps to end the partnership at 117. Bangladesh still had plenty of reasons to hope: the lead was already 80, Mushfiqur was set and nearing his half-century, the new batsman Elias Sunny had a first-class high score of 176, and the light usually fades well before the scheduled close of play.

Those hopes pretty much evaporated after a wild stroke from Mushfiqur, who charged out and looked to send a Rehman delivery out of the ground, only managing to top edge it towards mid-off. How Mushfiqur can lecture his team-mates about batting responsibly after this shot remains to be seen.

Bangladesh's slide continued thanks to a moment of magic from Younis Khan at slip, which seemed even more spectacular given the number of simple chances that have been put down in the match. It extended Shahadat Hossain's forgettable Test as he attempted a reckless swipe across the line, getting a thick edge which was seemingly flying well wide of first slip. Younis, though, threw himself to his right goalkeeper-style to snaffle it one-handed. Saeed Ajmal then captured the final two victims to take his tally for the year to 50.

In contrast to the helter-skelter batting after lunch, Nasir and Mushfiqur had been level-headed in seeing off the bowling in the morning. Chances fell short, flew wide and soared over slip but Pakistan were unable to make the breakthrough, as both batsmen also played some powerful shots behind point. In the fourth over of the day, Nasir edged an attempted drive just past second slip, but that didn't stop him from a vigorous upper cut over gully for four off the next delivery.

Once the fast bowlers were seen off, Ajmal and Rehman dried up the runs with an accurate spell of bowling. A five-over stretch that yielded only one run was finally snapped by the inevitable big stroke, but Nasir managed to swat it wide of the diving midwicket fielder to pick up a boundary.

Both Nasir and Mushfiqur showed a defensive technique that was mostly watertight, and Pakistan had to turn to their secondary spinners, Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali. A whip to midwicket for four off Ali brought up the hundred stand five minutes before lunch, and Bangladesh were looking forward to escaping with a draw before a depressingly familiar collapse followed.

In this Test, Shakib Al Hasan already had the highest score and the best bowling figures by a Bangladeshi against Pakistan, but he could still have made his most important contribution during the chase. It was getting murky early in the afternoon, and the floodlights were on as early as 3pm - a series of tight overs could have been enough to conjure a face-saving draw. He bowled through the innings but it was a task too tough even for him.

Pakistan had a stretch of 24 dot balls early on, and Taufeeq Umar was dismissed cheaply, but Mohammad Hafeez then took over, expertly pulling the barrage of short balls from the medium-pacers. With Azhar Ali working the singles, Pakistan galloped towards victory even as the light faded. Both Hafeez and Azhar were dismissed with the win in sight, but that only brought in the senior batsmen, Man-of-the-Series Younis Khan and captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who stylishly completed the victory with a six over long-off.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 24, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    pakistan team is confident to play with england don,t take it easy to pakistan team bcaz they have to ablity to beat any team in all the world

  • Dummy4 on December 24, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    The domestic structure of Bangladesh should be a strong one like India specially the first class circuit. Selectors should select good fast bowlers, who are consistent in domestic competitions and proved himself, and please don't select Shahadat again and again.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    i thick that Bangladesh's batsman do not believe that they can bat in one whole day.they always in hurry.coaching staffs should tell to them that your duties are just play one whole day. do not matter whether you score run or not.with time to time they can improve batter and batter

  • Zakirul on December 23, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    Micky Tool :" @Dulbari: dont speak Rubbish bro..It took 26 yrs for NZ to win their 1st TEST match but they have DRAWN quite a few TESTS ............." I have already mentioned that DRAW was a little easy for NZ, BECAUSE they used to play 4 day Test matches until 1970. Also there was no pressure of media and fan expectation during that time. Also England , Australia and WI used to send weak team to NZ. Once England sent two teams to Australia and NZ at the same time. I think NZ also has the record of 29 all out.

  • sheraz on December 22, 2011, 20:59 GMT

    pakistan was the best team when they got test status they beat india in first series n they beat england in england in their first series that time england was very strong team , well india , newzealand and bangladesh is equal every one past record is quite same

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    @Dulbari: dont speak Rubbish bro..It took 26 yrs for NZ to win their 1st TEST match but they have DRAWN quite a few TESTS and they were promising and also same goes to India and Srilanka..u shud check urself..BD 's TEST status is given immaturely and we all know who wanted it and helped us..but wat it hurts is DOMESTIC LONGER Version cricket is very poor in BD and None of our so called Star players ever participate and our Board is busy arranging 50 overs league and 20-20 as long as thts not happening our TEST cricket wont go tht far and we will see more humiliating and embarrassing defeats..u take my words bro...

  • qazi on December 22, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    and it takes only 2 weeks for Pak to win First test match and also away to India ;)...thats what we call real achievement...

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2011, 19:06 GMT

    I would request not to criticize Bangladesh for a poor show. They have a passion for the game and few very talented players the only thing they require in my opinion is an inspirational leader like Imran Khan who can work hard himself and motivate them to do so. Once they start believing that they can get over the line then they will turn the tables. Moreover, their players should take part in other country's domestic set-ups or even import players to show up in their domestic circles.

  • Zakirul on December 22, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    Cpt.Meanster: ".... No other team has taken more than 10 years to win games consistently let alone a series......." --- Please see the records. It took 26 years for New Zeeland to win their first Test and more than 20 years for India and Sri Lanka

  • Hanzaq on December 22, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    for everyone thinking that Pakistan are gonna have a tough time against England....I doubt it...the English are notoriously poor in subcontinent conditions, not only that, the heat will be draining on them, the ability to bounce on UAE/Subcontinent tracks is halved because of the heat and the pitch, and if they found it hard against a second string indian spin line up recently (which had no Harbhajan Singh) and in the World Cup against do people expect them to play Rehman, Ajmal and Hafeez easily?? The tracks should be suited to Pakistan, as its a "HOME" series....all these people saying they should curate better tracks then the flat ones of the subcontinent, really do not know what home advantage is all about!! Looking forward to Pakistan smothering England, who, just like India, are a top team in home or similar to home conditions...but there arent many teams out there who aren't, which made Australia's dominant team in 90s-00s so good!

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