DHAKA - Pakistan’s spin-bowling consultant Mushtaq Ahmed Friday said Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan’s blazing 89 off 91 balls cut off their plan to impose the follow-on in the deciding Dhaka Test.

Mushtaq informed that they approached the third day’s play at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday with the strategy of taking the remaining five wickets as soon as possible but Shakib’s quickfire knock changed their plan to enforce the follow-on.

“We had the plan of bowling them out within the first hour or so but they lingered on a bit, forcing our main bowler to bowl a longer spell. Also, the pitch may behave differently on day four and five so all these elements played a role for not enforcing the follow-on,” Mushtaq told the media at the post-day press conference.

“Also, we respect the opponent and Bangladesh are a good team so we had to have enough runs on the board to bowl them out again. This is Test cricket; you don’t have to finish the game in three days. You got to be professional and see the limitation of the team and the bowlers as well. We still have plenty of time left in the Test and also, you have to respect the game. It was a team decision and we have to stick with the decision,” he said.

Bangladesh were given an improbable target of 550 to win the Test and subsequently, the series. Although such a target has never been achieved in the history of Test cricket, Mushtaq believes the task in not an impossible one. “Whole point is things can happen and a lot of records get broken. But, we are on top of our cricket and have a big chance to win this from here,” said the 44-year-old.

Not imposing the follow-on might haunt them: Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan yesterday informed that he was surprised to see Pakistan not imposing the follow-on. Shakib believes Misbah’s decision to bat again took up some valuable time from the deciding Test.

“If we count the number of days, it is a slight advantage for us. I did not expect them to bat again. I do not know why they did that. I thought they were in a flow and had the best time to attack us. Hopefully, it (not enforcing the follow-on) will be in our favour. I am sure they will think about their decision if we register a big partnership tomorrow (today). It would, even for a short time, give them some tension,” Shakib told the media at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday following the third day’s play.

“It would be hard to predict the result of the game because anything can happen in a game of cricket. But, to be practical, I think, after the end of day three, we are losing the game. Nobody have ever chased such a total so if we do not play well tomorrow (today), we will not be thinking about the chase obviously. It is going to be difficult but if we can take inspiration from the Khulna Test, who knows?” he said.

Although the Tigers face a daunting task in the remainder of the Test match, Shakib said one big partnership from the top-order will change the complexion of the game. Many believe Shakib’s bad form with the leather is down to his detachment from first-class cricket for quite some time now but he thinks otherwise.

“I do not think it that way. I have always played in this way (not playing enough first-class cricket). I do not remember taking more than a couple of five-fors in our domestic first-class cricket. I do not even bowl much for my division side too. It is just a mental thing. I did not bowl well in three innings. I think someone new has to take up the responsibility but I will try my best definitely,” he said.