CHATTOGRAM    -   Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan placed his side in a strong position against Bangladesh at the end of the second day with a fine allround show. After an attacking half-century that propelled the visitors to a competitive 342, Rashid had figures of 4-47 including the wickets of his counterpart Shakib Al Hasan, wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah. These blows snuffed the fight out of Bangladesh, as they struggled to 194-8 at stumps.

Rashid found great support in Mohammad Nabi’s two wickets as well as Yamin Ahmadzai and Qais Ahmad, who picked up one each. They have put Afghanistan in a position from where they can genuinely entertain the possibility of beating Bangladesh, who have been jolted by yet another poor showing. The hosts are behind by 148 runs, with very little room to come back into the game. Mosaddek Hossain and Taijul Islam’s 48-run unbroken ninth wicket stand, however, has given them a glimmer of hope. Mosaddek is unbeaten on 44 off 74 balls, while Taijul, previously proven to be a dogged customer, has battled his way through 55 balls for his 14 runs.

Bangladesh’s lowest ebb came shortly before the tea interval when Shakib and Mushfiqur fell within three balls of each other. Rashid took both wickets, trapping Shakib lbw with a conventional leg-break, and having Mushfiqur caught at short leg, somewhat contentiously, as it was unclear whether his defensive prod bounced off his boot or took some earth with it before being snaffled by Ibrahim Zadran.

But as is usually the case with such close calls, since the on field umpire’s soft signal was out, and there was no conclusive evidence to reverse it, the decision was upheld.

Regardless, the batting debacle began quite early, when Shadman Islam was caught behind in the first over, shortly before the lunch break. Yamin Ahmadzai had him edging a pretty wide delivery for a duck. On the other side of lunch, Nabi trapped Soumya Sarkar lbw after the left-hander had batted cautiously for 19 overs. Liton Das, who struck three fours and a six in his 33, misread the length of a Rashid delivery that snuck under his pull shot. It was followed by a short period of recovery before Rashid picked up those two big wickets, and had Bangladesh on the mat.

Soon after the tea break, Mahmudullah became Rashid’s fourth wicket when he missed a wrong ‘un. A little later, Mominul Haque hit Nabi straight to mid-on, after reaching his fifty, and the follow-on danger not quite averted yet . Mehidy Hasan’s strange choice of shot gave Qais Ahmad his maiden Test wicket, but it was followed by a late ninth-wicket resistance.

At the start of the day, the visitors added 71 runs to their overnight 271-5, with Rashid hammering three sixes and two fours in his maiden Test fifty. Asghar Afghan, however, couldn’t become the second centurion from his side as fell for 92, adding just four to his overnight score. Taijul took two early wickets, including that of Asghar - making it four for the innings for him - before Shakib supplied two more, but Rashid farmed the strike with the tail, pushing Bangladesh on the backfoot.

 

Scorecard

AFGHANISTAN 1ST INNINGS:

(OVERNIGHT: 271/5):

Ibrahim Zadran c Mahmudullah b Taijul 21

Ihsanullah b Taijul 9

Rahmat Shah c Soumya b Nayeem 102

H Shaheedi c Soumya b Mahmudullah 14

Asghar Afghan c Mushfiqur b Taijul 92

M Nabi b Nayeem 0

Afsar Zazai b Taijul 41

Rashid Khan c & b Mehidy 51

Qais Ahmad c Mominul aque b Shakib 9

Yamin Ahmadzai c Soumya b Shakib 0

Zahir Khan not out 0

EXTRAS: (lb1, nb2) 3

TOTAL: (all out; 117 overs) 342

FOW: 1-19, 2-48, 3-77, 4-197, 5-197, 6-278, 7-299, 8-322, 9-327, 10-342

BOWLING: Taijul Islam 41-5-116-4, Shakib Al Hasan 22-1-64-2, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 28-5-73-1, Nayeem Hasan 13-0-43-2, Mahmudullah 4-0-9-1, Soumya Sarkar 4-0-26-0, Mominul Haque 4-0-9-0, Mosaddek Hossain 1-0-1-0

BANGLADESH 1ST INNINGS:

Shadman Islam c Afsar b Yamin 0

Soumya Sarkar lbw b Nabi 17

Liton Das b Rashid 33

Mominul Haque c Asghar b Nabi 52

Shakib Al Hasan lbw b Rashid 11

Mushfiqur Rahim c Ibrahim b Rashid 0

Mahmudullah b Rashid 7

Mosaddek Hossain not out 44

Mehidy Hasan b Qais 11

Taijul Islam not out 14

EXTRAS: (b4, lb1) 5

TOTAL: (8 wkts; 67 overs) 194

FOW: 1-0, 2-38, 3-54, 4-88, 5-88, 6-104, 7-130, 8-146

BOWLING: Yamin Ahmadzai 10-2-21-1, M Nabi 22-6-53-2, Zahir Khan 9-1-46-0, Rashid Khan 18-3-47-4, Qais Ahmad 8-2-22-1

TOSS: Afghanistan

UMPIRES: Paul Wilson, Nigel Llong

TV UMPIRE: Nitin Menon

MATCH REFEREE: Chris Broad