Pakistan claimed five wickets before stumps, after declaring on 557 for 8 to take the Mirpur Test by the collar on the second day. Their batting gains were led by Azhar Ali, who moved to a maiden double ton, and Asad Shafiq, who struck a sprightly 107 after arriving at the crease in the second over of the day. The pair struck 207 runs in each other's company, then ceded the stage to the bowlers, who ripped out Bangladesh's top order in the final session.
Junaid Khan claimed Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque in an inspired six-over burst with the new ball, before Yasir Shah beat Imrul Kayes in the flight in his first over, and later, bowled Mushfiqur Rahim with a googly off what would be the last ball of the day. Just before that, Wahab Riaz had Mahmudullah fending a vicious lifter to short leg, and Bangladesh went to stumps 450 runs adrift, in grave danger of having to follow on. Had Younis Khan held an outside edge at slip off Yasir, Shakib Al Hasan may have been out as well.
The Shere Bangla track appeared placid while the Bangladesh bowlers toiled on it for much of the day. But Junaid, moving the ball both ways at pace, had the batsmen poking. He slipped three awayswingers to Tamim first up, before nailing the in-form batsman in front of the stumps with one that curved in. Tamim was struck above the knee roll, and perhaps thought the ball to be sliding down, but his review was unsuccessful as projections had the ball shaving leg stump.
Undeterred, Imrul cracked four fours in Junaid's next over, before the bowler gathered himself. Mominul Haque was untroubled by the other seamer Imran Khan, but faced ten scoreless Junaid deliveries before presenting a faint under-edge to the wicketkeeper on 13. That ball and the one immediately before it had stayed unusually low, adding weight to suspicion that the pitch was becoming more difficult to bat on.
Junaid had drawn false strokes from Imrul as well, but the batsman continued to play freely until Yasir removed him in his first over. Seducing Imrul into a drive, Yasir got the ball to dip and grip dramatically, to clatter into the stumps off the batsman's pads. He sucked Shakib into a cut next ball, but Younis could not hold the sharp chance to his right. Yasir would get a second scalp regardless. In the last over of the day, he showed Mushfiqur a huge legbreak, ripping away from off stump, before pitching a googly in the same area next ball. Having failed to read the ball, Mushfiqur played a cut, but had his stumps splayed.
Wahab looked for swing in his first spell without much success, before reverting to the bouncer late in the day. He tried three to Mahmudullah. The first was deflected fine for four, and the second ducked beneath, but the third followed the rearing batsman, homing in on his throat, and he could do little else but fend at it with hard hands. Mohammad Hafeez took a simple catch close-in.
Azhar had been fortunate to survive till stumps on the first day, having given three clear chances, but was more secure on Thursday, while Shafiq kept the scoreboard moving quickly at the other end. Misbah-ul-Haq was cleverly bowled by Shakib in the second over the day, but that was as hopeful as the Bangladesh bowling effort got.
Azhar and Shafiq played out Mohammad Shahid's tight early overs, then slipped into a comfortable routine against the spinners. Shafiq would charge, with his sights on the legside boundary, while Azhar turned the strike over, and attacked only when bad balls came. They batted this way for around three hours, picking up milestones along the way. The occasional ball turned or kept low, but too few of them troubled either man.
Azhar survived a few nervous moments in the 190s, when Mushfiqur stitched a tight ring of fielders around him, but the batsman eventually ran at Shakib and hit him into the sightscreen to spark a joyful celebration. Shafiq's sixth trip to triple figures was more humdrum. He slammed Taijul Islam to the deep midwicket fence to move to 98 early in the afternoon session, then worked two more singles in the next over to become Pakistan's third centurion of the innings.
The pair surged when 400 was passed, in preparation for the declaration. Mushfiqur, for his part, was perhaps guilty of falling into a holding pattern too early, and of under-bowling the tenacious Shahid. Late in the afternoon both batsmen would fall in pursuit of quick runs, however. They attempted to hit Shuvagata Hom into the sightscreen, and mis-hit the ball to Mahmudullah at long off. Azhar's 226 came off 428 balls, and Shafiq had made his ton at a strike rate of 64.
Sarfaraz Ahmed struck an unbeaten run-a-ball 21 as wickets tumbled around him. Misbah's declaration came at tea, and Pakistan's bowlers produced perhaps their most dominant stretch of play in the tour. The hosts, however, might reflect that they played too many shots.