Stumps Afghanistan 271 for 5 (Rahmat 100, Afghan 88*, Nayeem 2-43) v Bangladesh
During the course of his rescue act with Asghar Afghan, Rahmat Shah made history by becoming the first Test centurion from Afghanistan. It went a long way in ensuring Afghanistan ended the day on top at 271 for 5, with Bangladesh's four-pronged spin attack finishing with fewer rewards than they would've hoped on a surface tailor-made to suit their strengths.
Having missed a century in heartbreaking fashion against Ireland earlier this year, Rahmat stayed calm and got there with a superb cut shot past short third man as the sparse Chattogram crowd made enough noise to acknowledge the feat. However, he fell off the next ball to a sharp catch at first slip, perhaps consumed by a dip in concentration as he went for a loose drive to a delivery that skidded through. In all, he struck 10 fours and two sixes in his 187-ball knock.
Rahmat was strong square of the wicket on the off side, earning five boundaries through the cut shot. His driving through cover and the flick through midwicket were also pristine. Early in his innings, he was a tad aggressive, even hoicking the spinners over deep midwicket but once he gauged the surface, he shelved the big shots and focused on playing himself in and making it count.
He added 120 for the third wicket with former captain Afghan after they slipped to 77 for 3 at lunch. The pair rattled the score along in a wicketless second session where the spinners were often guilty of trying too hard, and in the process bowling either too short of full. On their part, the batsmen refrained from chasing wide deliveries.
Afghanistan's domination was stalled when Rahmat's dismissal was followed by Mohammed Nabi's in the same over. Nayeem Hasan, the offspinner who began with a five-for on debut last year, did the job again. After Rahman edged to slip, Nayeem had Nabi for a duck as he was deceived by one that went through and kept a tad low to beat his defence. After that, Afsar Zazai added 74 in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand with Afghan to keep the spinners at bay.
Afghan survived an lbw call on 42 after utilising a review. He blunted the bowling with an assured forward press, when not looking for the ones and twos. In between, he had the odd flashes of extravagance when he played predetermined heaves to clear the deep midwicket fence. The knock fetched him three fours and two sixes to help finish unbeaten on 99. Afsar batted competently too, remaining not out on 35.
Earlier in the morning, Ihsanullah became Taijul Islam's 100th Test wicket before debutant Ibrahim Zadran charged him needlessly to give him a second wicket by holing out to long-off. Mahmudullah removed Hashmatullah Shahidi just five minutes before the break to induce some flutters, only for Rahmat and Afghan to drive the visitors ahead.