CHITTAGONG: Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar cracked unbeaten half-centuries to put Pakistan in command after Bangladesh crashed to 135 on the opening day of the first Test.
Pakistan scored 132 for no loss in reply at stumps, with Hafeez hitting nine fours in his unbeaten 74 and Taufeeq seven boundaries in his unbeaten 53. The left-hander gave a chance in the last over of the day but Shahadat Hossain failed to hold on to the ball at mid-on.
Spinners wreck hosts’ hopes
Earlier, left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman finished with three for nine and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal with three for 40 as Bangladesh were dismissed in just 51.2 overs after being put in to bat in Chittagong. Pacemen Aizaz Cheema and Umar Gul also gave a good account of themsleves as they wrecked the hosts’ top order before finishing with two wickets each.
“When we sent Bangladesh into bat after winning the toss, we had a plan to bowl them out at as low a score as possible,” said Rehman. “In the morning, the captain and the coach told us to maintain a good line and length and at the end of the day we got the result.”
Coach can’t explain stutter
Debutant opener Mohammed Nazimuddin also offered some resistance as he batted more than a session for his 79-ball 31 with the help of five fours before he was caught by Hafeez in the slips off Gul. Mohammad Mahmudullah (18) was the other batsman to reach double-figures.
“We didn’t play the best cricket,” said Bangladesh coach Stuart Law. “It’s disappointing as our batsmen gave away their wickets cheaply. It’s not lack of skill as we have got very talented players, but it might be a kind of mental block. I really can’t explain it. The pitch wasn’t bad to bat on either.”
Pakistan, playing their first Test in Bangladesh in almost a decade, put the hosts in deep trouble in the morning when they took five wickets for 47 runs in the opening 23 overs. Cheema rocked Bangladesh with two quick wickets while Gul, Ajmal and Rehman each took one wicket after the tourists had won the toss and elected to field.
Pakistan skipper Misbahul Haq opened the attack with off-spinner Hafeez, but had to rely on his fast bowlers to jolt the hosts on an easy-paced track. Hafeez gave away nine runs, including a six over long-off by opener Tamim Iqbal, in his opening three overs before being replaced by Cheema who struck with his fourth delivery.
The tourists will look to pile the runs on the second morning, hoping to avoid batting again on the slow pitch.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2011.
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