Mushtaq hails 'flawless' day for Pakistan
There are good days and there are bad days. Neither lasts forever. After spending 15 of the miserable variety in Bangladesh, Pakistan enjoyed a "flawless" one in Khulna according to spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed. The bowlers stuck to plans, catches were taken safely and batsmen chugged along at almost four runs an over. Mohammad Hafeez scored his eighth Test hundred and, with Azhar Ali, led Pakistan to finish 105 shy of Bangladesh's 332 with nine wickets in hand.
Four wickets. Pakistan's yield after their bowlers had thrown everything at an unresponsive Khulna pitch all through the first day. But on the second, they wrapped up the Bangladesh line-up in a session. Six wickets for 96 runs because Pakistan decided not to let a flat track bog them down.
Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah might have economy rates over three, but they shared five wickets between them. Fast bowler Wahab Riaz chipped in with the other three and captain Misbah-ul-Haq had contributed by having the right men patrolling important areas in the field.
"It was really tough to get wickets here but quality bowler does adjust in any condition," Mushtaq said. "Our bowlers knew exactly how to test the batsmen and when to attack and contain.
"Pitch at times wasn't even helping spinners as the batsmen had enough time to adjust and play with freedom. But we had a plan with our field placements for them today to help the bowlers to get wickets. We didn't believe that Bangladesh would collapse this way as the pitch was slow but our bowlers bowled very well and the fielders today supported them to make it our day."
Yasir was injured during the ODI series and recovered only two days before the Test. Yet his control was admirable and dismissed Bangladesh's in-form captain Mushfiqur Rahim. Zulfiqar conceded 99 in 32 overs, the most by a Pakistan bowler, but trapped Shakib Al Hasan in the fourth over of the morning.
"I was expecting Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar to take more wickets, they deserved it after the way they bowled. But then again we missed a lot of chances the other day and it didn't go well. But I believe they did well and combined well with the fast bowlers. We have done great to execute the plan."
So what did Pakistan do to reverse a tour where nothing had gone right? "If you focus too much on the opposition strength then you may undermining your strength so we rather spend time to see what we can do better," Mushtaq said. "What we did between yesterday and today was to motivate players to quickly make up from the mistakes and do their best."
"To avoid repeating the fielding mistakes [on the first day], Waqar made a plan to get the right fielders at the right places. So we knew Asad Shafiq is a good fielder at leg-slip. He took another vital catch at midwicket, an outstanding take that repaired day one's mistake. So despite fielding for 120 overs, players still had the spark."
More of Pakistan's plans fell in place with the bat. "The idea today was to avoid losing wickets and get as many runs as we can," Mushtaq said." This wicket requires some caution, but if you are not positive as well and don't attack the bowlers, there are limited scoring options. Full credit goes to Hafeez. He played an outstanding innings even with the slowness of the pitch and of the outfield."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson