It was probably not the kind of start Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan had hoped for as Afghanistan batsman Rahmat Shah struck a magnificent century to thwart any plans of domination the Tigers may have had the opening day of the one-off Test in Chattogram yesterday. In addition, the stylish right-hander became the first Test centurion for Afghanistan in the process.
Rashid Khan won the vital toss on his debut as the youngest Test captain in history while Rahmat, Asghar Afghan and Asfar Zazai made the most of his decision to bat first.
Afghanistan finished the day on 271 for five against the Tigers’ all-spin attack at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
The Bangladesh think-tank opted to play without any specialist pace bowler other than part-time slow-medium pacer Soumya Sarkar. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam provided a perfect start for the Tigers by removing openers Ibrahim Zadran and Ihsanullah for just 48 runs. Taijul also reached a personal milestone when he scalped Ihsanullah to become the fastest Bangladeshi bowler to pick up 100 Test wickets. Taijul took 25 Test matches to complete the feat, eclipsing Shakib who did it in 28.
Having lost two early wickets, the visitors were struggling on 77 for three at one stage but they fought back, riding on a 120-run fourth wicket partnership between Rahmat and Asghar.
Rahmat remained calm and composed during his 163-ball stay to steady the ship following the initial hiccup. He was eventually dismissed on 102 when he offered a simple catch to Soumya Sarkar at slip off a Nayeem Hasan delivery. Nayeem also bowled Mohammad Nabi for a duck in the same over.
Nayeem’s double strike seemed to create an opening for Bangladesh to exploit but Afghan and Asfar Zazai added an unbeaten 74-run sixth-wicket stand to keep the momentum going for their side. Asghar suffered a bit due to a hamstring issue but nevertheless remained unbeaten on 88 while Zazai remained not out on 35 at stumps.