Younis Khan, Azhar Ali help Pakistan dominate first day against Bangladesh
Mirpur, May 6 (IANS) Azhar Ali and Younis Khan piled on runs in a superb third-wicket partnership to take Pakistan to a commanding position against Bangladesh on the opening day of the second and last cricket Test here on Wednesday.
Bangladesh bowlers toiled and the fielders let a number of chances go a begging as the tourists racked up 323/3 at stumps at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Azhar (127 not out) and Younis (148) used the slip-ups to the full, carving out a 250-run stand with some aggressive batting, reports bdnews24.com.
Only pacer Mohammad Shahid bowled with discipline and extracted movement and bounce from the grassy track, but it was Azhar and Younis who made it Pakistan's day.
The duo soaked up the early pressure after Pakistan were reduced to 58/2 in the first session. Bangladesh faced an early setback when pacer Shahadat Hossain slumped to the ground during his follow-up in the first over of the day.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim had opted to field with hopes of getting assistance from the pitch. The pacer was later stretchered off after he came out to bowl on the practice wickets during lunch and took another tumble.
Azhar got a life at 18 as he had edged Shahid to third slip but replays showed the bowler overstepped marginally. Mominul Haque added to Bangladesh's woes, putting down two difficult chances off Azhar, at silly point and short leg.
Mohammad Hafeez, who made a double century in the drawn opening Test, edged Shahid behind for just eight. Bangladesh then checked the flow of runs.
Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, who bagged six wickets in the first match, forced other opener Sami Aslam (19) to leap out of the crease and whip the ball in the air. Shahadat, who was back on the field after his first tumble, caught it safely as the teams went for lunch with Pakistan on 70/2.
Younis took the initiative after the break, launching an attack on Taijul and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for several boundaries. Shakib once again could not live up to his billing, conceding 68 off 14 overs without a wicket.
The pair steadily rotated strike as Younis went down to play several powerful sweeps to reach his half-century after Azhar hit his fifty. Azhar then eased up and started plundering runs down the ground like Younis as Pakistan scored 126 runs in the second session.
Soumya Sarkar added insult to injury after tea when replays showed he had overstepped before Younis sent a catch to Shakib at cover on 85.
Both batsmen kept their calm and milked runs off seamers and spinners alike as Younis slapped Sarkar towards sweeper cover for two to bring up his 29th Test century. Soon after Azhar lifted Taijul over the top for a boundary to reach his eighth century.
After the hosts took the second new ball, Mushfiqur seemed to be low on ideas as he called up Shahid and was rewarded five overs before stumps. Younis sliced one outside the off-stump, sending a catch straight to Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury at gully. The veteran cracked 11 boundaries and three sixes in his 195-ball innings as Shahid returned with 2/43.