Pakistan 132 ahead despite Shakib six-for
Shakib Al Hasan became the first Bangladesh player to score a hundred and take a five-for in the same Test, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Pakistan from taking a significant lead on the fourth day in Mirpur. Adnan Akmal reached his maiden Test half-century and Misbah-ul-Haq completed his seventh Test fifty of the year to set Bangladesh’s batsmen a stiff challenge.
Tamim Iqbal responded with a bunch of cracking boundaries, before he fell lbw in the final over before tea. To make it worse, Umar Gul removed Shahriar Nafees lbw for a golden duck to leave Bangladesh in the familiar situation of trying to save a Test.
One of the reasons for the home side’s troubles at the Test level is the lack of quality medium-pacers, and they were unimpressive again on the fourth morning. That prompted Mushfiqur Rahim to give marathon spells to the left-arm spin pair of Elias Sunny and Shakib. Sunny bowled through the entire morning session, while Shakib had sent down a 23-over spell by the time Pakistan’s innings ended.
Comfortably placed at 292 for 3 overnight, Pakistan were expected to be more adventurous on the fourth morning to set up a declaration, but the dismissal of Younis in the second over of the day led to a more measured approach. Sunny struck in his first over, getting the ball to jump and turn, and Younis nicked it to the wicketkeeper as he looked to defend.
Neither Misbah nor Asad Shafiq are known for an aggressive brand of batting, and there was plenty of caution in their partnership early on. Only three runs were scored in the first seven overs of the day, before Misbah broke free with a couple of boundaries in a Nazmul Hossain over. Shafiq also got going with consecutive fours off Shahadat Hossain, but once Sunny and Shakib started to bowl in tandem, the run flow subsided again.
Misbah, to his credit, attempted to push the tempo with an array of sweeps – delicate paddles from outside off, reverse-sweeps and powerful conventional ones to try and throw the spinners’ off their line and length. The partnership swelled past 50, before Shakib finally had reward for his tight bowling – Misbah falling to the sweep, top-edging to slip.
The Bangladesh fielding was again below par. Robiul Islam shelling a simple chance at mid-on, and Mahmudullah dropping another at slip and there was another let down at midwicket by Sunny.
Bangladesh’s spirits were lifted when Shafiq was given a tight lbw appeal, but Abdur Rehman and Akmal played a series of strokes to take the lead close to 100. Rehman then fell to a catch at slip, and the rest of the tail was mopped up by Shakib.
As if a century to rescue the team from 43 for 4, and then scooping up six wickets wasn’t enough, Shakib will now probably have to play another long innings if Bangladesh are to avoid a 2-0 defeat.