BAN vs PAK 2nd Test - Babar, Azhar take Pakistan to solidarity on the start-stop day

Pakistan came out on top after a difficult period just before noon, which was hampered by rain and poor lighting. Babar Azam and Azhar Ali helped to steady the ship after Taijul Islam had rocked it before lunch, battling through a brief rain delay to deny the hosts any more wickets before tea. Azhar’s innings was more of a struggling knock as he moved on to 36 in 112 balls, while the Pakistan captain brought up a smooth half-century. As the light faded, no more play was possible, leaving Pakistan with a total of 161 for the loss of only the openers and the opportunity to put up an unbeatable first innings score.

The morning session was split into two halves, with Pakistan making solid headway in the first hour and Bangladesh’s spinners retaliating in the second. Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique sailed to their third consecutive fifty-plus partnership on a cloudy day in Dhaka when Pakistan chose to bat first. However, thanks to probing spells from Taijul Islam and Shakib Al Hasan, they were unable to convert it to three digits this time. Taijul took both wickets, slamming back the openers’ stumps as Pakistan scraped their way to 78 for 2 at lunch after scoring at nearly four runs per over for much of the first hour.

With the cloudy circumstances not followed by the sideways movement Bangladesh’s pacers might have hoped for, Pakistan appeared unconcerned against the fast bowlers, to begin with. Unlike in Chattogram, where Abid and Shafique may have been guilty of being too quiet in terms of scoring rate, the duo pushed forward with greater vigour, consistently swatting away poor deliveries and refusing to let Ebadot Hossain and Khaled Ahmed settle.

It was unsurprising to see Taijul deployed after only 10 overs, but even with spin, Pakistan’s openers resisted being slowed down at first. On his fourth delivery, Shafique dragged Taijul away over square leg, while Abid clipped Shakib through the leg side following over. Shafique’s shot of the morning was when he skipped down the ground to deftly deposit Taijul over long-off for a glorious six to bring up the fifty partnership, but the momentum was starting to turn around that time.