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Bangladesh control the first day riding on Shanto’s century

Published : 14 Jun 2023 10:11 PM

Nazmul Hossain Shanto scored his third Test century as Tigers had an enthusiastic first day playing with domination in their one off Test against Afghanistan on Wednesday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur.

Hashmatullah Shahidi sent Bangladesh in to bat first winning the toss and initially it looked that the Afghan captain’s decision was very much right when Nijat Massod made the breakthrough in the very second over.

But Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Mahmudul Hassan Joy confidently faced the visitors' attack to place Bangladesh in a comfortable position at the end of the first day’s play with 362 for five wickets. It was Bangladesh's second-highest score on the first day of a Test when the highest was 374 runs against Sri Lanka in Chattogram in 2018. 

Shanto scored a brilliant 146 runs when Joy was closer to make a century but was unfortunate to get out after scoring 76 runs when Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehidy Hasan Miraz were unbeaten with 41 and 43 runs respectively at stumps.

However, Masood struck with the first ball in the second over of the match to be the first Afghanistan bowler to take wicket in the first delivery of debut Test when picked up Zakir Hossain.

Nijat Masood, though, threatened the Tigers with his first ball of the Test career taking the opener Zakir Hasan for one with Bangladesh scorecard reading only six runs, Shanto and Joy pair lifted the side from a bit of early trouble.

But Shanto rotted the visitors' temperament with cracking boundaries when he whacked fast bowler Yamin Ahmadzai for two fours in the third over, before he struck Masood for three more. He welcomed Zahir with three fours too in his first spell.

Joy, who was a bit slow and steady, joined in on the boundary hitting, but it was Shanto who really targeted the bowlers. Shanto went to get his fifty with Zahir’s long-hop in the 20th over before Joy on-drove twice later in the same over.

In the second stand, Shanto and Joy diminished the Afghan with free-flowing strokeplay to score 212 runs playing 43 overs before the latter being out for 76 runs.  

However, Afghanistan made the first breakthrough by taking Zakir Hasan’s wicket, he tried to block a full-length delivery but the ball sharply moved before edging past the bat to be an easy catch for wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai.  

Joy, who looked pretty good to handle the Afghan bowlers and was giving perfect accompaniment to Shanto, lost his concentration against part-timer Rahmat Shah to make a second breakthrough after being settled well on the crease.  

Rahmat Shah, the spinner released a delivery outside the off-stumps and Joy tried to cut it but was a bit late and Zadran was brilliant to grab the ball at slip.

Shanto reached his third Test century when he raced to the three-figure mark midway through the second session when the second wicket partnership scored 212. 

Shanto scored the hundred after almost two years, and his first one at home but on the day on his way to make 150 got out off an Amir Hamza.

When the visitors were struggling and their sessions were going worse, Amir Hamza made the huge breakthrough by taking the big wicket of Shanto, as this was turning out to be a good session for Afghanistan, as they have two wickets in this session.

Following the fall of Mominul’s wicket on  256 by 52.1 overs, Shanto went on 271 after five overs.

Shanto, who was looking to score 150 runs in style could not execute the shot well as Nasir Jamal globbed the catch calmly at deep midwicket when the ball went straight to the fielder, who did not have to move much to grab the ball, and Bangladesh were reduced to 271 for four.

After Shanto getting out, captain Litton Das came at six, but could stay only for 15 balls when he scored only nine runs before being caught by Afsar Zazai off Zahir Khan.

The first two sessions of the match belonged to the hosts and Afghanistan pulled things back to a small extent in the final session with taking five wickets for 290 runs. But former captain Mushfiqur Rahim and recent past captain Mominul Haque denied Afghanistan to fight back to the game, playing with calculative aggression to remain unbeaten for 41 and 43 runs respectively.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh actually saw a big blow ahead to start the match when first of all Shakib Al Hassan was ruled out for injury and then just before the day of the first day’s play, Tamim Iqbal followed the captain, as he was forced to depart the team for his severe back pain.