Mominul Haque scored 80 to help Bangladesh make an impressive start in the first Test against Pakistan on Tuesday (April 28). At stumps on the opening day at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna, Bangladesh had reached 236 for 4.
Haque, 23, a talented left-hand batsman, batted fluently to cross 50 for the 12th time in his 13 Tests before being trapped leg before by Zulfiqar Babar off the last ball of the day.
Imrul Kayes, the opener, made 51, while Mahmudullah scored 49, and Shakib Al Hasan was unbeaten on 19 after the hosts elected to take first strike in good batting conditions.
Mominul has scored 50 or more in his last 10 Tests. Only four batsmen — Sir Viv Richards, AB de Villiers and the Indian duo of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag — have scored more 50s in consecutive Test matches.
“I think we are in a good position, but if I had not been out we would have been on top,” Mominul said after the day’s play. “Surviving here is easy, but scoring runs is difficult.”
Mominul put on 40 for the second wicket with Imrul, 95 for the third with Mahmudullah and 49 for the fourth with Shakib as Pakistan’s bowlers toiled for success on an unhelpful pitch.
Yasir Shah, the legspinner, Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz and Babar claimed a wicket each. However, Pakistan were let down by shoddy catching and fielding. The most expensive let-off was by Babar, who spilled a simple return catch when Mominul was on 17.
Yasir broke a 52-run opening stand between Tamim Iqbal and Imrul just before lunch by having Tamim (25) caught at forward short-leg by Azhar Ali. Yasir, who had missed the limited-overs leg of the tour that consisted of three One-Day Internationals and a one-off Twenty20 International due to injury, ended the day with figures of 1 for 58 in 18 overs.
“Obviously after picking Mominul’s wicket we are happy,” Azhar said. “It has raised the team’s spirits and hopefully we can dismiss them early tomorrow.”
Imrul survived a strong leg-before appeal off the third ball of the innings from Junaid Khan as the third umpire turned down Pakistan’s review. Hafeez, who dropped Tamim at leg-slip off Babar when he was on 16, made amends by taking a return catch to dismiss Imrul after lunch.
Pakistan had to wait for almost two hours for their next success, which came after tea when Sarfraz Ahmed, the wicketkeeper, dived to his right to remove Mahmudullah off Riaz’s bowling.
Bangladesh handed debut caps to Soumya Sarkar and Mohammad Shahid, the right-arm pacer, while Sami Aslam, the left-hand batsman, played his first Test for Pakistan.
Pakistan chose to ignore Saeed Ajmal for the opening match of the two-Test series, preferring to go in with the left-arm spin of Zulfiqar and Yasir’s legbreaks.
Prior to the Test match, the hosts swept the ODI series 3-0 and also defeated Pakistan for the first time in a Twenty20 International.