Khul, May 1: Openers Tamim Iqbal (138 not out) and Imrul Kayes (132 not out) smashed scintillating centuries to put up a record unbeaten stand to lead Bangladesh's fight-back against Pakistan on the fourth day of their first cricket Test here on Friday.
The duo took the fight to the Pakistan bowlers, breezing to 273 for no loss after spinner Taijul Islam’s six-wicket haul ended the tourists’ innings on 628 at the Sheikh Abu ser Stadium. The hosts still trail Pakistan by 23 runs with a day's play left.
In contrast to Bangladesh’s first innings, Tamim and Kayes maintained a hefty run-rate that hovered around 4.5 per over after Taijul haul ended Pakistan’s first innings.
Starting the day on 537/5, Ahmed Shafiq (83) and Sarfraz Ahmed (82) maintained the fluent pace and extended their sixth-wicket partnership to 126 before losing their last five wickets for 34 runs, adding 91 to their overnight score.
Both missed out on centuries as Sarfraz perished, caught off Mohammad Shahid after smashing five boundaries and two sixes. In the next over, Shakib Al Hasan bagged his first wicket when Shafiq chipped one back to the bowler, letting Taijul (6/163) clean up the tail.
Mahmudullah stood behind the wicket for the first time after Kayes passed on the gloves to him as regular wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim did not take the field after injuring his finger on Day 2.
Bangladesh openers started cautiously, not wanting to lose any wicket before lunch.
After the break, Tamim shifted gears and punished seamers Juid Khan and Wahab Riaz with powerful pulls and drives. Soon Kayes joined the act as the duo kept their foot on the gas, smashing boundaries on either sides of the wicket, leaving Pakistan bowlers rattled.
Pakistan bowlers grew wayward and started making desperate appeals as both batsmen freed their hands and unleashed big shots. They finished the day with 28 boundaries and seven sixes between themselves with Bangladesh knocking up 136 runs in the second session.
Tamim brought up his seventh Test century off 123 balls as he registered the highest number of tons for Bangladesh. Mohammad Ashraful follows him with six. Kayes launched Yasir Shah over long-on for a huge six to bring up his 1,000 runs in Tests.
The 28-year old reached his third century off 153 balls and kept the pressure on, smashing the previous opening stand record of 224, which the same pair scored against Zimbabwe in last November.
After reaching his century, Kayes accelerated, hitting boundaries in almost every over as the pair notched Bangladesh’s highest partnership for any wicket -- previously held by Ashraful and Mushfiqur for their 267-run stand against Sri Lanka in Galle, 2013.
Bangladesh added another 131 in the fil session. IANS