Afghanistan chasing 662 after Shanto, Mominul hit tons

SUMMARY: Bangladesh 382 all out from 86 overs (Najmul Hossain Shanto 146, Mahmudul Hasan Joy 76, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 48, Mushfiqur Rahim 47; Nijat Masood 5-79) and 425-4 declared from 80 overs (Najmul Hossain Shanto 124, Mominul Haque 121*, Zakir Hasan 71, Litton Das 66*; Zahir Khan 2-112) vs Afghanistan 146 all out from 39 overs (Afsar Zazai 36, Nasir Jamal 35; Ebadot Hossain 4-47) and 45-2 from 11 overs


After another near-perfect day in Dhaka, where Najmul Hossain Shanto scored his second century of the Test match, Bangladesh have set themselves up for victory.

Afghanistan have an improbable target ahead of them – 662 – and in their battle to stay alive they suffered an injury to their captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, who was hit on the helmet by a Taskin Ahmed bouncer and had to retire hurt.

Bangladesh dominated proceedings with the bat as Shanto helped himself to 124 in 151 balls and Mominul Haque also raised a hundred of his own, finishing unbeaten on 121 off 145.

The target they set – 662 – is the highest they have ever done in Test cricket, but it came as no surprise.

Head Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe declared their intention before the start of play on Friday.

He said that they wanted to bat all the way through. Some expected Bangladesh to declare after Mominul reached his hundred, but the team preferred to grind Afghanistan down.

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It seemed to pay immediate dividends considering the first 11 balls of the chase produced two key wickets. Shoriful Islam trapped Ibrahim Zadran lbw for a golden duck and even DRS couldn’t save the batter.

The ball pitched on leg stump and was projected to hit it. Taskin Ahmed then had Abdul Malik caught behind for five, when he went chasing after the fast bowler’s away swinger.

Things got worse when Shahidi, on 13 off 14, was struck on the head, as he ducked into Taskin’s bouncer. The Bangladesh slip cordon and fielders, and the Afghanistan physio ran towards Shahidi, who stayed mostly on the floor after the hit. He walked off the ground after several minutes of on-field checks, although a stretcher was also brought out for him.

Earlier, Shanto, Mominul, Zakir Hasan (71) and Litton Das (66*) propelled Bangladesh’s second innings to 425-4 declared. It was a day of mostly waiting for milestones and the declaration. Bangladesh’s 661-run lead is their biggest after batting two innings – the previous best was 476 against Zimbabwe in 2021.

Shanto and Zakir added 173 runs for the second wicket, the first instance that Bangladesh had two 100-plus second-wicket stands in a Test match. In the first innings, Shanto and Joy added 212 runs.

Zakir fell on 71 when a relayed throw from Nasir Jamal to Ibrahim, found him well short of the striker’s end. He struck eight fours in his 95-ball knock. Shanto and Mominul added 83 runs for the third wicket.

Shanto reached his century in the second innings during this partnership. He took 115 balls to reach the landmark, his primary areas of scoring through the covers and midwicket.

Shanto’s end came when he tipped a simple catch to midwicket off left-arm wrist-spinner Zahir Khan, who took out Mushfiqur Rahim in the same over as well. Mushfiqur had mistimed a reverse sweep which ballooned to Ibrahim at slip.

Mominul and Litton took up the baton to keep the Bangladesh innings going, with Mominul reaching his century in the third session. It came off 123 balls, when he ramped Yamin Ahmadzai for four over the slip cordon. Mominul scored most of his fours through third man and midwicket.

His only six came down the ground off Hamza Hotak. Litton remained unbeaten on 66 off 81 balls with eight fours.

Zahir took two wickets on the third day, while Hotak had taken one wicket in the second evening. (ESPNcricinfo)


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