Hafeez hundred seals nine-wicket win for Pakistan
Mohammad Hafeez: an unbeaten 102 to seal the match
© AFP 2003
A match which promised plenty for Bangladesh ended in disappointing fashion, as Pakistan eased to a nine-wicket win in the second Test at Peshawar, wrapping up the series 2-0, with one Test still to be played.
Shoaib Akhtar did the star act with the ball for the second time in the match, taking 4 for 30 to end up with match figures of 10 for 79 - his first ten-for in Tests - as Bangladesh were bundled out for a mere 96, their fourth-lowest score in Test cricket. Pakistan's openers then rammed home the advantage, adding 140 for the first wicket and ensuring that the victory target of 163 was achieved at a canter. It was a timely retun to form for Mohammad Hafeez too. Short of runs so far in the series, he stroked his way back into form with an elegant maiden century, remaining unbeaten on 102 at the finish.
It was a complete reversal of events for the buoyant Bangladeshis. At 4pm on the third day, they were on an unbelievable high, having registered the first-innings lead for the first time in 22 Tests. Better still, the lead was delivered by their first hat-trick. Less than 20 hours later though, things turned sour for Khaled Mahmud and his team, as they hit the familiar road of batting collapses.
Having lost their top four batsmen late on the third day, it was imperative for the lower order to make a fight of it, but the pace and late swing of Pakistan's fast bowlers proved too much to handle. The pitch remained a placid one, but Shoaib, Umar Gul and Shabbir Ahmed ensured that a helpful track was hardly a prerequisite to wreck havoc - they consistently kept a full length, and got appreciable reverse-swing with a ball which was only about 25 overs old.
Shoaib started the slide in the eighth over of the day. Rajin Saleh, so impressive with his technique and application in the first Test, got his second dodgy decision of the match when he was declared lbw to an inswinging yorker which might have missed leg stump (64 for 5). That was Shoaib's 100th Test wicket, and he celebrated with another scorcher two balls later, which trapped Khaled Mashud plumb in front.
Mashrafee Mortaza's stumps go flying as the Bangladesh collapse gathers pace
© AFP 2003
Next over, Danish Kaneria joined in, getting another lbw verdict when Mahmud shuffled across his stumps (65 for 7). The onus was now on Alok Kapali to stitch together a few runs with the tail, but Shabbir Ahmed scotched those hopes when Kapali (13) nicked one and was smartly snaffled by Rashid Latif.
At 75 for 8, Bangladesh were in danger of being bundled out for their lowest Test score. Mashrafe Mortaza slogged three consecutive fours off Umar Gul to take Bangladesh past the 87 they had scored against West Indies at Dhaka in 2002-03, but Gul got his own back soon after, taking the last two wickets with well-directed, full-length deliveries.
Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar then set about knocking off the 163 runs required for victory. Hafeez survived a perilously close lbw shout off his first ball, bowled by Mortaza, but then gave the boisterous Peshawar crowd plenty to cheer about with crisp square-drives and flicks.
Bangladesh fought on spiritedly in the field - Mahmud shuffled his bowlers around and set imaginative fields - but a breakthrough remained elusive. Hafeez brought up his half-century in emphatic fashion, pulling Mohammad Ashraful over midwicket for six, and then continued to motor towards his century with more attractive strokeplay. He went into the tea break on 92, but slowed down after the interval, showing visible signs of nerves as he neared his hundred.
He lost Taufeeq Umar during that period too. Umar made a circumspect 43 before spooning a drive off Mahmud to Mortaza at short cover. The trap laid by Bangladesh - Mahmud had a short cover in place for Taufeeq almost throughout his innings - worked, but far too late for Bangladesh's liking.
Hafeez's hundred finally came up when he bottom-edged a cut shot off Mahmud to the third-man boundary. He then watched from the non-striker's end as home-boy Yasir Hameed flicked Alamgir Kabir to the fine-leg fence to bring about Pakistan's win.
Both teams now travel to Multan for the third Test, which starts on September 3.