Mushfiqur, Liton propel Tigers
A maiden Test ton by Liton Das and his unbeaten 200-plus stand with Mushfiqur Rahim saw Bangladesh dominate terms against a high-flying Pakistan on the opening day of their first World Test Championship fixture at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram yesterday.
Having recently been dropped from the T20 set-up, both Liton and Mushfiqur made solid statements as the duo's unbeaten 204-run fifth-wicket stand helped Bangladesh amass 253 for four before the day's play ended prematurely due to bad light.
Liton remained unbeaten on 113 off 225 deliveries, a knock that featured 11 fours and a solitary maximum, with Mushfiqur inching closer towards his eighth ton in the format as he ended the day unbeaten on 82.
However, with the likes of Pakistan pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali getting the cherry to swing on a pitch that had a faint green tinge, Bangladesh were left in a spot of bother at the beginning after electing to bat.
The Tigers lost four of their top-order batters with just 49 runs on the board after 16.2 overs. Saif Hassan (14 off 12), who is still trying to find his feet in international cricket, continued to disappoint as a rising delivery from Afridi exposed the right-hander's discernible flaws in technique, forcing him to give a catch to short leg.
Soon, Shadman Islam (14 off 28) was trapped in front by an inswing Hasan Ali delivery, skipper Mominul Haque (6 off 19) edged one back to the wicketkeeper while Najmul Hossain Shanto (14 off 37), who was looking in good touch, was undone by a low diving catch at point.
With the flurry of wickets putting Bangladesh on the backfoot early in the innings, Liton and Mushfiqur started consolidating rather slowly. Mushfiqur was the more cautious one, taking 51 balls to score his first six runs.
However, both batsmen picked up the pace gradually as the Tigers went unscathed till the end of the day's play while scoring runs at a rate of over three in the final two sessions of the day.
Although Mushfiqur demonstrated a solid display throughout, Liton had survived a few scares. The right-hander, who was exquisite for the most part of his knock, was dropped at midwicket off an Afridi delivery on 67.
Liton, who had previously been dismissed twice in the nineties and a high-score of 96 in the format, also looked a bit nervy when he reached the uncharted territory. He also had to be attended by team physio for suffering cramps during the end and only reached the three-figure mark with a rash single.
The play today will start at 9:45am, 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time, in order to make up for the lost time due to an early finish yesterday and Bangladesh would hope the duo of Liton and Mushfiqur pick up from where they had left off on the opening day.