August 21, 2003

Yasir Hameed's hundred on debut puts Pakistan on top

Wisden CricInfo staff

Close Pakistan 301 for 5 (Yasir 170, Youhana 46) lead Bangladesh 288 by 13 runs
Scorecard Day 1 bulletin

Yasir Hameed en route to a superb century © AFP

A scintillating 170 by Yasir Hameed on his Test debut powered Pakistan to 301 for 5 at close of play on the second of the first Test, at the National Stadium in Karachi. Yasir became the ninth Pakistan batsman to score a hundred on debut, and the second to achieve the feat against Bangladesh. His innings was largely instrumental in ensuring that Pakistan finished the second day with a 13-run lead over Bangladesh's first-innings total of 288.

Coming in to bat when Pakistan's innings was just three overs old, Yasir showed exemplary technique and temperament, striking 25 fours and scoring 63% of the total runs while he was at the crease. He got off the mark with an exquisite back-foot cover-drive, and proceeded to play with supreme authority on both sides of the wicket, and off either foot. Two hundred partnerships - with Taufeeq Umar and Yousuf Youhana - meant that despite a minor blip in the afternoon session, Pakistan were always in control.

Bangladesh's bowlers were rarely threatening, except for a brief spell by Mashrafe Mortaza and Tapash Baisya at the start of the innings. Mortaza's pace and bounce unsettled Mohammad Hafeez - also playing in his first Test - and he spooned a catch to Javed Omar at gully in attempting to draw away from a pull stroke (5 for 1).

Yasir and Taufeeq Umar - the other Pakistan batsman to score a century on debut against Bangladesh - eased the dressing-room nerves with a 114-run partnership for the second wicket. They were aided by the lack of depth in Bangladesh's bowling attack. Khaled Mahmud, the first-change bowler, served plenty of wide half-volleys, most of which went for boundaries. Mahmud's only Test wicket had, before this match, cost him 406 runs, and his bowling today showed why his stats are so modest. To make matters worse, he bowled most of his overs without a third man. Yasir took full toll, guiding him past gully for consecutive fours.

An unhappy comeback: Inzamam-ul-Haq trudges back after being dismissed for a duck © AFP

Pakistan were in cruise control when Bangladesh struck back with two wickets against the run of play immediately after lunch. First, Taufeeq (38) charged down the pitch to a wide ball from Mohammad Rafique and scooped the drive to Omar at point (102 for 2). Inzamam-ul-Haq was accorded a rousing welcome by the Karachi crowd, but lasted just five balls before flicking lazily at a Baisya delivery. Rajin Saleh pouched the chance at short midwicket, and Inzamam trudged back for a duck.

Yasir and Youhana averted a further slump with a 131-run stand. Youhana struggled for fluency, but playd the second fiddle as an increasingly confident Yasir went after the bowling. A swept four off Alok Kapali brought Yasir his hundred as Mahmud was forced to resort to his spinners in an attempt to staunch the runs. With the grass on the pitch drying out, there was little help for the bowlers as Bangladesh toiled away on a clear day.

Youhana became Saleh's first Test wicket, patting a full-toss back to the bowler just four short of his fifty (234 for 5). Yasir's long vigil finally ended when he slapped a short ball from Mortaza to Rafique at midwicket, but Rashid Latif and Misbah-ul-Haq made sure that Bangladesh's bowlers could not breathe easy quite yet.