Chittagong, November 26: Bangladesh found themselves all at sea at 49/4 but Liton Das (113) and Mushfiqur Rahim’s (82) unbeaten 204-run partnership resurrected the hosts as they ended the first day on top.
It’s Bangladesh’s first match in the 2021-2023 cycle of the ICC World Test Championship and they know points are up for grabs. With home advantage on their side they would have expected more from their top order after electing to bat but an early stutter has not impeded them in putting up a decent total on Day 1.
Their sorry state from the T20Is would have continued if not for the experience and guile of Mushfiqur and Liton, who have taken the hosts to a healthy 253/4 at the end of day one.
Bangladesh started their innings slowly with Pakistan bowlers dominating the morning session five overs in. They removed the Bangladesh top four within 90 minutes, taking full advantage of the early moisture on offer.
It began with Shaheen Afridi scalping Saif Hassan in the fifth over, ramming in a short ball that outfoxed Hassan, who took his eyes off it and ended up awkwardly fending to Abid Ali at short leg. Shadman Islam tried to keep the scoreboard running with a couple of fours but was trapped by Hasan Ali three overs later for 14.
Although captain Mominul Haque survived a couple of close calls, his luck ran out quickly with Sajid Khan getting him caught behind on 6, after inducing a faint outside edge on a ball that spun away slightly. Immediately in the next over, Najmul Hossain Shanto departed, failing to keep the shot down and playing into the hands of the fielder at point.
The experienced pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das then managed to bat out the remaining 11 overs before Lunch, taking the hosts to 69/4.
Exploiting the batting-friendly conditions deftly, Mushfiqur and Liton persevered frustrating the Pakistan bowlers. Neither pace nor spin bothered them much as they kept the scorecard ticking, quietly racking up runs and bringing about their respective fifties.
As the partnership gained confidence, the duo consolidated Bangladesh’s position, taking them to Tea at a solid 171/4.
More of the same continued after Tea. Pakistan’s horror show continued with Liton being dropped on 67, a straightforward chance for Sajid at mid-wicket, who messed it up. Another opportunity for the visitors went begging with a Nauman Ali no-ball that had almost got Mushfiqur a few overs later.
Liton, spurred on by the reprieve, rapidly started accumulating runs but survived yet another attempt on his way to a stunning hundred. On 99, he scampered through for a non-existent single and had to dive in as the mid-off fielder had a shy at the stumps. Luckily for Liton, the fielder just missed.
Battling cramps, surviving chances, Liton had managed to register his maiden Test hundred in his 43rd innings, after falling five runs short in Harare in July 2021.
The visitors took the second new ball as soon as it was available but despite their best efforts, they failed to break the mammoth partnership. With the light rapidly fading, the umpires decided to call it a day with five overs still remaining.
All in all, Bangladesh will be pleased with how the day ended after a bleak morning session.