Sarfraz Ahmed, under-pressure to score, clipped two confident boundaries before edging a wide Mustafiz delivery to be caught behind for ten. Sarfraz has just two half-centuries in the 18 innings since early 2017 and that is adding pressure on him with the team also below par in the performance.
It was Shoaib Malik and Imam-ul-Haq who steadied the ship, adding 67 for the fourth wicket but it ended on when Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza latched onto an uppish flick off Rubel Hossain. Malik’s departure for 30 had made the task stiffer.
But Bangladesh could have had Imam had Mahmudullah picked the ball cleanly at mid-off with Malik in Imam’s crease at the non-striker’s end, but the fumble allowed Imam to complete the single.
Asif too survived a caught behind when his edge off Mustafiz was dropped by wicketkeeper Liton Das. Asif was 22 at the time but Das had the last laugh as he stumped Asif off Mehidy with the score at 165 and two runs later Pakistan’s rock solid man Imam was also stumped off Mahmudullah for 83.
Junaid Khan proved team management’s decision not to play him in earlier matches was wrong as he jolted Bangladesh after they batted by choice, removing Liton das (six), Soumya Sarkar (nought) and Mominul Haque (nought) with the score at 12.
But Sarfraz Ahmed’s captaincy came into question when he did not take a slip and get the dangerous Mushfiqur Rahim out, also removing both his frontline pacers — Junaid and Shahen Shah Afridi — after just four overs.
Pakistan needed that Mushfiq wicket, more so because of his form during which he scored a brilliant match winning144 against Sri Lanka. Both Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiq had close edges which went to vacant slip area as both built the innings and added 144 invaluable runs.
The same pair had rescued Bangladesh in the game against Sri Lanka through their 134-run stand.
It was only in the 34th over that Pakistan took the fourth wicket, as Mithun holing out to Hasan Ali after a brilliant 84-ball 60 with four boundaries.
Mushfiq missed a deserving hundred by a mere one run as he tried to smash Shahen only to be caught behind. His innings repairing knock of 116 balls had nine boundaries.
Junaid returned to dismiss a dangerous looking Mahmuddulah Riyad for 25. Junaid’s figures of 4-19 in nine penetrative overs smacked of confusion in team’s selection. Shahen finished with 2-47 and Hasan 2-60.