Wed, 04 October 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Shanto, Mominul hit ton as Tigers close in on big victory 

Update : 16 Jun 2023, 20:27

Bangladesh closed in on a massive victory in the one-off Test against Afghanistan after Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mominul Haque smashed centuries in yet another near-perfect day for the hosts at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. 

After 16 wickets tumbled on day two, Bangladesh batters dominated the day three in emphatic style, leaving Afghanistan at bay, reports BSS.

Shanto followed his 146 with 124 in the match, making him the second Bangladesh batter to hit century in both innings of a Test.

Mominul Haque, the first one who achieved the rare feat for Bangladesh was in the crease when Shanto joined him in the elite club. He himself also made the day memorable one for him, ending his two-year long century draught. 

Mominul was unbeaten on 121 after completing his 12th century, the most for Bangladesh in Test cricket, as Tigers declared the second innings at 425-4, setting up an improbable 662-run target for Afghans to win the Test.

Captain Liton Das, was not on 66, after picking his 16th half-century on his captaincy debut. 

Buried under the avalanche of runs and fielded 67 over on day three in unforgiving heat today, tired Afghanistan crumbled against Bangladesh pacers to reach 45-2 in 11 overs before the bad light brought a premature end to the day.

To make matter worse, captain Hashmatullah Shahidi had to retire after being hit by a bouncer of fast bowler Taskin Ahmed on his head.

With two days left, Afghanistan which is trailing by 617 runs, need to rewrite the record book for an unlikely victory.

Afghanistan's bowling attack struggled, failing to create any chances, while the Bangladesh batters got enough loose deliveries to punish with ease after resuming day three at 134-1.

Opener Zakir Hasan scored 71 off 95 deliveries before perishing while going for a third run, ending a 173-run second-wicket partnership.

After playing in limited-overs style, Shanto completed his fourth Test century off 115 balls, nudging occasional bowler Hashmatullah Shahidi behind square for a single.

Left-arm wrist spinner Zahir Khan momentarily intervened in Bangladesh's run-fest, taking two wickets in three balls. 

After hitting 15 boundaries in his 151-ball knock, Shanto fell, clipping one to short midwicket. Veteran Mushfiqur Rahim on the other hand miscued a reverse sweep, after hitting a six in the previous delivery. 

Mominul and Liton Das then denied Afghanistan any success with the former guiding a short delivery of pacer Yamin Ahmadzai over the keeper for boundary to reach his century.

Bangladesh's declaration came one hour after Tea, as they want to bat Afghanistan out of the game completely. 

Paceman Shoriful Islam them gave Bangladesh breakthrough in the first delivery, trapping Ibrahim Zadran lbw for duck. 

Abdul Malik edged a delivery of Taskin behind wicket as Bangladesh lost two wickets for seven runs in second over before Shahidi was hit on his helmet and being stretched off the ground. 

Rahmat Shah was batting on 10 with Nasir Jamal on 5, knowing that the task to save the Test is almost impossible. 

Bangladesh put up 382 in its first innings before dismissing Afghanistan for 146. Instead of enforcing follow-on, Bangladesh chose to bat for the second time in the match, potentially to avoid to bat in the fourth innings. 

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