The much-anticipated Test series between Pakistan and Bangladesh finally started on Friday and the green team won the toss and elected to bowl first. The decision paid dividends straight away as both the openers got out in the first two overs to Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Abbas.
The Bangladesh cricket team could manage a couple of partnerships but none of them were taken any further to hurt the progress of the men in green. Wickets were taken on regular intervals and only Mohammad Mithun stood out with some resilience against the strong pace attack of Pakistan.
Mithun scored a handy half-century for Bangladesh and took his team’s total over 200 with a significant effort. Mithun was caught behind off Naseem Shah’s bowling when he was batting with the tail-enders on 63. Other notable performers for Bangladesh were Najmul Hossain Shanto (44) and Liton Das (33).
Bangladesh’s captain Mominul Haque scored 30 before getting out to Shaheen Shah Afridi. Mahmudullah (25) and the left-arm spinner Taijul Islam (24) also contributed with handy knocks. Bangladesh ended their first innings at 233. Shaheen Shah Afridi took 4 wickets whilst Mohammad Abbas and Haris Sohail took 2 wickets each.
Pakistan started their first innings on Saturday morning in front of a jam-packed Rawalpindi crowd under the shining sun. The conditions were extremely suitable for batters and the Pakistani batters took full advantage of the conditions and played extremely well against the inexperienced pace attack of Bangladesh.
Although Pakistan’s latest batting sensation Abid Ali got out on a duck, the other opening batsman Shan Masood stood there and took his time to settle in. Shan was joined by the skipper Azhar Ali and both of them started rebuilding the innings. After putting up a partnership of 90 runs, Azhar Ali played a loose stroke and got out on 34.
After that, it was all about Shan Masood and Babar Azam. Both Shan and Babar literally played with the minds of the Bangladeshi bowlers. Shan went on to score his 3rd Test match century consuming only 162 balls.
The good thing about the batting of Pakistan was the strike rate at which they scored throughout the innings. Shan Masood got out immediately after scoring a ton and Taijul Islam went through the defense of the left-hander. Babar Azam once again entertained the fans with his classic stroke-play and he looked a class apart.
Azam reached his third consecutive Test ton in three matches and he is currently standing at the crease on 143*. The special thing about Babar Azam is the authority at which he played his innings.
He was also given a lifeline when he was dropped by the deep fielder but the talented right-handed batsman took full advantage of the missed opportunity and brought up his fifth Test hundred and first against Bangladesh. After Shan Masood’s departure, Babar Azam was joined by another stylish right-handed batsman Asad Shafiq.
The experienced batter of Pakistan has been demoted down the order and he is currently batting at no.5 in this batting line-up. Asad Shafiq also showed no signs of pressure and freely played his strokes all around the park. He is currently unbeaten at 60 along with Babar Azam who is batting at 143.
The impressive thing about the men in green is their overall strike rate as they have been scoring runs at a brisk pace throughout the day.
All of the top and middle-order batters have a strike rate in access of 50 except Abid Ali who got out on a duck. Pakistan finished the 2nd day of the Rawalpindi Test at 342-3 and they’re 109 runs ahead of Bangladesh in the 1st innings. Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq will resume the proceedings for Pakistan on Day 3.