Saturday, September 30, 2023

Tigers face uphill task

Bangladesh were facing an uphill task to save or win the second Test against Pakistan after they were set a record 550-run target on the third day in Dhaka on Friday. The Tigers have already lost the wicket of opener Imrul Kayes and need to survive two days with nine wickets in hand if they are to deny Pakistan the match, series and their first win in the tour. Tamim Iqbal will resume the innings with unbeaten 32 alongside Mominul Haque’s 15 as Bangladesh stand on 63-1, still needing an improbable 487 runs to win the game.
The Tigers have to beat both the world record for highest successful run chase in the fourth innings and the record of their own best fourth innings total by a long distance if they are to be successful.
West Indies currently hold the record for most successful run chase in the fourth innings of a Test match when they scored 418-7 against Australia at St John’s in 2003.
Bangladesh threatened to break the record in 2008 when they charged Sri Lanka heavily in pursuit of 521 runs before being stalled at 413, which till date remained as their highest fourth innings total.
Considering the nature of the wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla, which is wearing fast and started producing ominous turn for the spinners, it will be quite an achievement though if the Bangladesh can drag the game into fifth day.
All-rounder Sakib al Hasan promised after the third day’s play that they will not give up without a fight and hoped that something special that helped them save the first Test will happen again.
Sakib will not have too many people to back his cause, especially after seeing leg-spinner Yasir Shah to turn one for nearly a yard to dismantle the stumps of Imrul, one of the heroes in Khulna.
There were plenty of evidences of a wearing pitch in Pakistan’s second innings as well when the visitors lost six wickets to score 195 before they declared their innings with skipper Misbah-ul Haq out for 82.
Wicket is perhaps one big reason Misbah did not want to risk his side batting in the fourth innings and decided against enforcing the follow-on despite a massive 354-run first innings lead.
Bangladesh have very few positives to take from what they have exhibited from this Test expect a late batting charge of Sakib, who blazed his way to an unbeaten 89 off 91 balls to take them to 203 in the first innings.
Resuming on 107-5, the Tigers added 96 runs to their overnight score and Sakib alone contributed 75, thanks to his marauding innings featuring 14 fours and two sixes.
Sakib, who crossed 1000 Test runs as the first batsman at Mirpur, should be indebted to paceman Mohammad Shahid for helping him continuing the assault for quite some time.
Shahid put 63 runs with Sakib for the ninth wicket on which he contributed just one.
But more importantly he survived 20 balls to allow Sakib free his arm and take his average above 40 for the first time in his career.
Sakib can be called himself unfortunate as last batsman Shahadat Hossain was unable to turn up, which means Bangladesh’s batting ended the moment Azhar Ali caught Shahid at short cover off Yasir.
The all-rounder however had his share of luck as he was bowled by Wahab Riaz off a no-ball on 23.
Wahab was then in the middle of a fiery spell having already taken the wicket of Soumya Sarkar and Shuvagata Hom in successive overs.
The twin blow inside first fives overs in the morning ended any hopes Bangladesh had to cross the follow-on mark and leave Pakistan demoralised.

-With New Age input

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