It has been one-way traffic so far in Pakistan’s tour of Bangladesh, with the hosts dominating the visitors like never before. They whitewashed Pakistan in the three-match ODI series followed by a maiden T20I triumph and played out their first-ever Test draw against the men in green.
If Pakistan are to return home with any semblance of dignity, winning the last Test — which begins on Wednesday — will be their saving grace.
While Bangladesh may have progressed in the shorter genres of the game, there is still a stark difference between the two sides in the Test format, in which Pakistan are in third place and Bangladesh languish on ninth.
However, the hosts seemed to have forgotten the wide gulf in rankings between them and their opponents in the ultimate test of character and matched their rivals blow for blow.
The match in Khulna turned out to be a run-fest on a placid batting paradise, but Dhaka will have a different track due to grass on the pitch, which Pakistan will hope to be livelier than the previous one.
“So far, there is some grass on the pitch that’s likely to assist the pacers,” a team official told The Express Tribune. “We might play three pacers instead of two, and have two spinners with Imran Khan coming in for Zulfiqar Babar. However, it will be interesting to see whether the curator will be asked to leave the grass on or not.”
Saeed Ajmal is likely to sit out again as he continues to work on his remodelled bowling action with the support staff, while Muhammad Hafeez will fill the role of off-spinner.
“This pitch looks to have more pace and bounce from the one in the first Test,” said skipper Misbahul Haq. “There will be something for everyone and I hope we are going to get a result in the match. The focus for us should be to forget what happened in the past and think of what awaits us.”
Sami Aslam will get another run after he scored 20 in his maiden Test in which Pakistan could only bat once, which means Babar Azam will have to wait for his Test debut, just like left-hander Haris Sohail.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said his team would go into the match at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium with a positive frame of mind. “We have one goal and that is to win the final Test of the series,” said Rahim. “We will do whatever it takes to win and everyone is working hard towards it. We have played good cricket over the last month and it would be great to finish the series on a high.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2015.
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