RAWALPINDI                    -                Sensational Shaheen Shah Afridi ripped through Bangladesh, who were bundled out for 233 runs in 82.5 overs on the opening day of the first Test here at Pindi Stadium on Friday.

Earlier, Pakistan captain Azhar Ali won the toss and decided to bowl first. His decision paid off immediately, as first Shaheen Shah removed opener Saif Hassan and in the very next over, pacer Muhammad Abbas trapped Tamim Iqbal lbw at the team’s total of 3. Najamul Hasan and skipper Mominul gave some respectability to Bangladesh total and were involved in 59-run partnership, but just when they were steadying the innings, Shaheen removed skipper Mominul at the total of 62.

At 95, in-form Najamul Hasan was also sent packing by Abbas. Star batsman Mamhmoodullah and M Mithun batted with responsibility, but like witnessed before, first Mahmoodullah was out after scoring 25 and then Mithun lost his wicket after scoring 63 runs. His knock was a delight to watch for the crowd, who were gathered in huge numbers to support both the teams.

Shaheen Shah bowled with lot of pace venom and was disturbing all the batsmen. His ever-rising bouncers and control of the ball were the highlights of the day, which was fully dominated by the hosts. The fielding and catching was also up to the mark. Besides Shaheen Shah’s 4-53, part-timer Haris Sohail picked 2-11 and pacer M Abbas 2-19. Naseem Shah failed to lit up the occasion as he could only get 1-61 in 16 overs. The most disappointing thing to note was pathetic performance of leg spinner Yasir Shah, who completely failed to justify his selection. His wayward deliveries and straight bowling was easy enough to be handled by Bangladeshi batsmen comfortably.

If Kashif Bhatti were considered for the playing XI, he could have made huge difference. If a part-timer like Haris Sohail was so successful, then it is very easy to judge about a specialist spinner. Once again it was highly disappointing team selection by head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, as Fawad Alam continued to suffer and was again overlooked, like predicted by this scribe. Fortunately, despite getting few good partnerships, Bangladesh team failed to capitalise, or else they could have posted huge total on the board. Bangladeshi spinners can pose serious threat to Pakistani batsmen.

It was reasonable crowd present at the stadium. The PCB has done the right thing by announcing free entry in the general stands but the most disappointing thing to notice was the nearly empty VIP and Chairman boxes and question here arises that where all the VIP passes had gone? Pindi Stadium Manager Nisar Khan and others must inform about such thin attendance, rather than sitting on the passes, they should allow the masses to come and fill the stadium.

The long queues of cricket lovers were witnessed outside the main stadium. Had the PCB and especially the manager distributed passes among the spectators, the venue would have been filled to capacity. The credit must be given to security agencies for making foolproof arrangements and providing cordial and disturbance-free entrance to the stadium. It is hoped that the PCB will ensure the masses smooth passage to the venue by distributing passes instead of holding them.

 

Scorecard

BANGLADESH 1ST INNINGS:

Tamim Iqbal lbw b Abbas 3

Saif Hassan c Asad b Shaheen 0

Najmul Hossain c Rizwan b Abbas 44

Mominul Haque c Rizwan b Shaheen 30

Mahmudullah c Asad b Shaheen 25

Mohammad Mithun c Rizwan b Naseem 63

Liton Das lbw b Haris 33

Taijul Islam c Yasir b Haris 24

Rubel Hossain b Shaheen 1

Abu Jayed run out 0

Ebadat Hossain not out 0

EXTRAS: (b6, nb3, w1) 10

TOTAL: (all out, 82.5 overs) 233

FOW: 1-3, 2-3, 3-62, 4-95, 5-107, 6-161, 7-214, 8-229, 9-233, 10-233.

BOWLING: Shaheen 21.5-3-53-4; Abbas 17-9-19-2; Naseem 16-0-61-1; Yasir 22-2-83-0; Haris 6-2-11-2.

PAKISTAN: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah.

TOSS: Pakistan

UMPIRES: Chris Gaffaney, Nigel Llong

TV UMPIRE: Marais Erasmus

RESERVE UMPIRE: Shozab Raza

MATCH REFEREE: Sir Richie Richardson