Hafeez hits century to put Pakistan in strong position against Bangladesh

Hafiz (137) paired with Azhar Ali (65) in a superb unbeaten 177-run second-wicket stand to power the tourists to 227 for one at stumps on Day Two at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium on Wednesday.

Captain Mushfiqur Rahim dropped Azhar Ali twice, a lapse proving to be costly for the Tigers.

Mushfiq injured his finger when he dived to his right to clasp the second chance, a thick edge off Mohammad Shahid.

He left the field after the 36th over as Tamim Iqbal took charge as stand-in captain and Imrul Kayes took place as the wicketkeeper for the rest of the day.

Pakistan began their reply aggressively with the 50 partnership between Hafeez and Sami Aslam (20) coming from only 67 balls.

Mushfiq brought in left-arm spinner Taijul Islam in the fourth over. He was pulled away for a boundary by Hafeez in the very first ball.

In the penultimate ball of the over, Hafeez was adjudged out by the umpire after he seemingly edged a flatter delivery back to the keeper. But the decision was overturned after a review.

Aslam stepped up and hit Rubel Hossain for boundaries and Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury for a six as the duo reached 50 in the 12th over.

Taijul sent Aslam packing after the ball brushed the batsman’s thumb on its way to the keeper. Initially not given out, Bangladesh opted for a review and were rewarded.

Azhar Ali got a reprieve on 11 when Shakib Al Hasan’s bounce surprised both Mushfiq and the batsman who took an edge but was dropped.

In Shakib’s next over, Hafeez firmly hit him over midwicket for a six and reached his fifty before the teams went for tea, with Pakistan on 84 for one in 25 overs.

Rubel and Shakib took a beating as Hafeez and Azhar adjusted perfectly to their variation to crack regular boundaries. Rubel conceded 50 off his 11 overs while Shakib gave away 57 in his 12.

Even after using eight of his bowlers, Mushfiq could not build any pressure on the batsmen.

They kept the scoreboard moving by finding the gaps and rotating the strike regularly with ease. Pakistan knocked up 143 runs in the final session.

Mushfiq added insult to his injury when he dropped Azhar again, on 28, before walking off for an x-ray on his fingers.

Soon after Hafeez smashed Rubel through midwicket for two consecutive boundaries to bring up his eighth Test hundred off 123 balls.

He cracked 12 boundaries and two sixes so far in the commanding innings.

Unable to stop the runs, Mushfiq threw the ball to Shakib in the final phase of the day but Azhar bludgeoned the southpaw over long-on for a huge six to reach his 19th Test fifty in style, off 119 balls.

Earlier in the day, some sharp bowling by Pakistan saw the hosts lose their final six wickets for only 96 runs.

Bangladesh resumed on 236-4 but lost key man Shakib early, he added only six to his overnight 19.

Shakib danced down the track to heave but found an inside edge that was snapped up by Asad Shafiq at leg slip.

Mushfiq (32) and debutant Soumya Sarkar (33) put on 62 runs for the sixth wicket.

With the conditions improving much for batting, Mushfiq soaked up the pressure built by the Pakistan bowlers while Sarkar tried to go after them.

The two maintained a healthy scoring rate in the first session as Mushfiq hit the spinners for four boundaries with hefty sweeps and back-foot drives.

Soumya rotated the strike but was soon dismissed — and that triggered a collapse as the hosts lost three wickets for seven runs.

Soumya top-edged Hafeez to Shafiq in the covers after smashing five fours in the 55-ball innings.

Eight balls later, Mushfiq fell to leg-spinner Yasir Shah when he lobbed a rather tame catch to cover.

Shah added the wicket of Taijul in his next over to make it four wickets in the session for Pakistan as Bangladesh went for lunch on 325 for eight.

After the break, Bangladesh added just 7 runs more before Wahab Riaz cleaned up the tail with Shuvagata remaining unbeaten on 12.

Riaz and Shah bagged three wickets each while Hafeez and Babar took two wickets apiece as the final five wickets went down in only 8.4 overs.

Source: Bd news24


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