Pakistan 300 for 4 decl (Azhar 56, Babar 76, Fawad 50*, Rizwan 53*, Taijul 2-73) beat Bangladesh 87 (Shanto 30, Shakib 33, Sajid 8-42) and 205 (Mushfiqur 48, Liton 45, Shakib 63, Afridi 2-31, Hasan 2-37, Sajid 4-86) by an innings and 8 runs
What might have been a routine win turned into a fifth evening thriller in Dhaka, with Pakistan sealing an innings win moments before bad light was set to draw the curtains on the second Test match between these two sides. Fittingly, it was Sajid Khan who ended the day as he’d begun it – by trapping Taijul Islam in front. It was his 12th wicket of the game, and as Pakistan raged against the dying of the light, they found themselves rewarded with a Test match win, and 12 crucial World Test Championship points.
Bangladesh looked as if they might just hold on after all in the final session when Shakib al Hasan – who scored a battling, valiant 63 – and Mehidy Hasan Miraz saw off the first hour of the final session without incident. But Babar Azam – don’t readjust your reading glasses – provided Pakistan with a breakthrough out of thin air as he coaxed Mehidy into a sweep that didn’t connect, Pakistan succeeding with the review to have him trapped in front.
Soon after, Shakib, who played two very different innings in the last 24 hours or so, paid for a possible lapse in concentration as he played inside the line of a quicker one from Sajid. There was still time enough in the game, and Pakistan had burrowed their way into the tail. The great heist was on, and even more when Khaled Ahmed feathered one to Mohammad Rizwan. Pakistan were suddenly just one wicket away.
At the same time, Bangladesh were creeping up to the magical 213 mark, at which Pakistan would be forced to bat again. With light soon poor enough to rule the fast bowlers out of the contest, Bangladesh would likely only need nine more runs to effectively seal a draw.
Taijul and Ebadot Hossain decided against that option, preferring to block their way through until light came to their rescue. A frantic Babar whizzed through his bowling options; while Sajid was a fixture from one end, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Nauman Ali and even Babar himself turned their arm over from the other. But it was Sajid who had the final say as Taijul found himself struck in front, with the review failing to provide the stunned hosts any respite.
A sensational bowling performance by Sajid last night was topped up by three early wickets for Pakistan – eight in the innings for Sajid – to bowl Bangladesh out for 87. That meant, with a lead of 213, Pakistan could enforce the follow-on, and the visitors weren’t done yet. Much as Pakistan have done almost all tour, they ripped through the top order, Afridi and Hasan Ali sending the top four back to the pavilion in under nine overs.
Bangladesh began the day needing 25 to avoid the follow-on. But Sajid hadn’t finished his first over before he had his first wicket of the day, trapping Taijul in front for the first time on the day. With Dhaka bright and sunny after a few grey days, Afridi was allowed to operate from the other end, and took just two deliveries to uproot Khaled’s stumps, who was forced on strike after a mix-up with Shakib off the over’s first ball. Shakib, for his part, tried to shield No. 11 Ebadot while looking to be reasonably positive in a bid to cross the follow-on mark. The approach wasn’t without its risks, and he ended up spooning one to Azhar Ali at short cover.
With the home side now suddenly needing to bat a full day to salvage a draw, they required something conspicuously absent all series – a contribution from their top order. It wasn’t to come, though. Debutant Mahmudul Hasan Joy was done for by a trademark Hasan dismissal to right-hand batters, drawing Joy on the front foot before the ball shaped back in, sneaking through the gap between bat and pad to knock back the stumps. The other opener, Shadman Islam, was trapped in front by Afridi, who had set him up with away-swingers before bringing one in that clattered into his pads.
Pakistan were prowling, and it wasn’t long before more wickets fell. Each new ball bowler would pick up one more, Hasan thudding one into Mominul Haque’s pads in front of the stumps, before a brute of a short delivery saw Najmul Hossain Shanto helplessly scoop one up to gully off the splice of the bat.
It brought together the two men who contributed Bangladesh’s finest passage of play with the bat all series. Mushfiqur and Liton had batted more than two sessions and added 206 runs for the fifth wicket in the first Test, and once more, they offered the most significant resistance to the Pakistan bowlers. Liton, in particular, did well to unsettle the spinners on a pitch that, with capable batters at the crease, appeared to cast its demons off. There was a moment of fortune for Liton against the luckless Nauman, Ali who drew his outside edge, only for no one to realise it and appeal for caught-behind.
They saw off what was left off the new ball, and looked to score off Sajid when introduced, adamant not to repeat the mistakes of the first innings. They continued in much the same way post-lunch, stretching the partnership to 73 before Sajid – who else? – provided the breakthrough as Liton pulled him straight to Fawad Alam at square leg.
For once, though that wicket didn’t open the floodgates, with Shakib partnering with Mushfiqur for handy partnership, combining for 49. Mushfiqur battled on while Shakib opted for a more conventional, sedate approach compared to his high-risk strokeplay in the first innings. All of that was overshadowed, though, by a decision to come through for a high-risk single minutes before the tea break. Mushfiqur put in a dive, but his bat had popped up before grounding, and after lengthy deliberations, the third umpire sent him on his way.
It would set up that frenetic final session, and in a game where cloudy weather and grey skies dominated the narrative, it was against the Dhaka sunset that the most famous moments of the game were created.