Liton Das struck his maiden century to put Bangladesh is on top against Pakistan after a disastrous start on day one of the opening Test at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday.
With Bangladesh being reduced to 49-4 at the first hour of the game and a below-par total looked all likely, Liton who was dropped from the T20 squad following a poor Twenty20 World Cup outing brought the side back in contention in an elegant show of batting.
He was ably supported by Mushfiqur Rahim as the duo combined for 204-run in an undefeated fifth-wicket stand to lift the side to 253-4.
Before the day’s game was stopped, owing to bad light, Liton was batting on 113 with Mushfiqur Rahim on 82.
They saw off the first half of the morning session and the whole second and third session to keep Pakistani bowlers at bay.
The first hour of the day belonged to Pakistan fast bowlers who utilized the early moisture of the pitch well to trouble Bangladesh batsmen.
But Saif Hasan hit fast bowler Hasan Ali a couple of boundaries in the second over to hint at a good start for Bangladesh after captain Mominul Haque opted to bat first.
His opening partner Shadman Islam struggled against Afridi who moved the ball admirably but Saif grew with confidence, driving the left-arm pacer through mid-off for four.
Afridi broke through in the immediate next delivery when Saif Hasan fended a short delivery to short leg for 14.
Shadman also fell for 14, as Hasan Ali had him leg-before after leaking runs in his opening spell.
Off spinner Sajid Khan gave the side big breakthrough when he reviewed successfully to dismiss captain Mominul Haque for 6.
Najmul Hossain Shanto then followed him, giving a straight catch to point for 14 as Bangladesh crumbled under pressure with 49-4.
Liton and Mushfiqur were cautious at the start and survived some tricky moments before they dominated Pakistan bowlers.
As the pitch became easier, Liton and Mushfiqur unleashed some brilliant shots from the repertoire to make the Pakistani bowlers disarray.
They went unscathed in the whole post-lunch session in which both of them raised their half-century.
They accelerated after the lunch with Liton hitting Sajid Khan for the lone six of the day.
Liton chopped left-arm spinner Nauman Ali’s short delivery past backward point for a boundary to bring up his half-century off 95 balls.
With the pitch offering nothing for the bowlers, Pakistan pacers came up with short balls plan which almost worked as Liton on 67 mistimed one-off Afridi but Sajid Khan put down the catch at midwicket.
Liton then became more watchful.
Mushfiqur meantime raised his 24th half-century with a back-to-back boundary against fast bowler Hasan Ali off 108 balls.
He too survived because of a no-ball by Nauman Ali after sweeping straight to point.
Playing with caution, Liton then reached his first Test century off 199 balls, pushing Nauman to mid-off for a single.
Pakistan took the new ball as soon as it was available after 80 overs in a desperate attempt to break the partnership. But the duo played smartly to see off the day.
Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, and Sajid Khan shared the four wickets amongst them.