Pakistan 342-3 as Babar, Shan hit tons vs Bangladesh
RAWALPINDI: Babar Azam and Shan Masood continued to prosper in home conditions with fluent centuries as Pakistan took firm control of the first test against Bangladesh on Saturday.
Pakistan moved to a solid 342-3 on day two for an overall lead of 109 runs with seven wickets still in hand after Bangladesh was dismissed for 233 in the first innings.
Babar made a career-best unbeaten 143 off 192 balls with 19 fours and a six by stumps as Bangladesh paid a heavy price for dropping Pakistan’s top batsman on only 2.
Babar shared two century stands that included a 137-run unbroken fourth wicket partnership with Asad Shafiq, who was not out on 60 with eight fours as both batsmen denied Bangladesh success in the last session.
Opening batsman Shan scored 100 for his second successive test century after the lefthander also made a hundred against Sri Lanka at Karachi in December.
Shan also featured in two solid partnerships and took the game away from Bangladesh as he added 91 runs with captain Azhar Ali (34) and then contributed a further 112 for the third-wicket stand with Babar.
“We were lucky that we got some runs early on and it sort of allowed us to be more confident,” Shan said.
“When you’re playing in home conditions it makes a bit easier, but in international cricket, especially in test cricket, there’s nothing easy.”
But Babar overshadowed Shan as he raised his fourth century in the last five test matches that included hundreds against Australia at Brisbane, and two centuries against Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi and Karachi.
Babar had narrowly missed a century in the second test against Australia at Adelaide when he was dismissed for 97.
Leftarm spinner Taijul Islam (1-111), who was introduced in the 16th over, bowled a marathon spell of 27 overs and got the solitary wicket of Shan.
Ebadot Hossain dropped Babar when the batsman went for an ambitious shot at long off, which could have given Taijul his first wicket in only the third over after lunch.
After Abu Jayed (2-66) had taken two wickets in the first session, Pakistan dominated listless Bangladesh bowling on a wicket which has eased for batting.
Babar completed his century off 134 balls after tea with 15 fours when he square cut Taijul to point boundary.
Shan had raised his century before tea off 157 balls when he pulled fast bowler Rubel Hussain to fine leg for a single. However, in a rare lapse of concentration during his nearly four-hour knock, Shan was clean bowled by Taijul while going for a loose drive soon after after reaching his hundred.
Earlier, Jayed, by far the best Bangladesh bowler, gave Pakistan an early jolt when he had in-form Abid Ali caught behind without scoring.
Abid, nicknamed “Legend” by his teammates, had a dream test debut against Sri Lanka in December, scoring centuries in both test matches. But he tried to drive the right-arm seamer away from his body in only the second over of the day and got a thick outside edge to wicketkeeper Liton Das.
Shan and Azhar then dominated Bangladesh seamers in a 91-run second-wicket stand with Shan playing exquisite pull shots and drives. Shan raised his half century off 54 balls with nine fours before Jayed returned and broke the stand by having Azhar caught by the lone slip off a reckless shot.