Peshawar: Javed Omar and Habibul Bashar put the Pakistan bowlers to the sword on a record-breaking first day for Bangladesh in the second Test at the Arbab Niaz Stadium on Wednesday.
Bangladesh, without a win in their previous 22 Tests, took control at 240 for two by the close after electing to bat first on a pitch that offered nothing to the bowlers.
The Pakistan bowlers toiled hard in extremely hot conditions with the temperature soaring to 36.5 Celsius and humidity touching a high mark as Omar and Bashar produced a record second-wicket stand of 167.
Bangladesh lost the first Test in Karachi by seven wickets.
Omar, who made 85 runs in his debut Test against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2001, grinded out 96 unbeaten runs for his side by the end of Wednesday’s one-sided play.
He slowed down considerably when he lost Bashar just after tea. Bashar missed out on a back-to-back century against Pakistan when he was declared leg before to Shabbir Ahmed three runs short of his third Test hundred.
The right hander, who scored 71 and 108 at Karachi last week in the first Test, faced 167 balls and hit nine fours.
But after Bashar’s departure, Omar teamed up with Mohammad Ashraful (34) to put on another undefeated 60 runs for the third wicket.
The only other wicket to fall on a frustrating day for the home side was that of opener Hannan Sarkar who fell for six in the day’s sixth over, edging a perfectly pitched out-swinger from Umar Gul to Rashid Latif.
Omar was 72 at tea and Bangladesh on 166 for one but on resumption his scoring rate slowed considerably and he displayed no urgency to get his first Test hundred before the close. His 96 runs took 286 balls although he hit 16 boundaries.
It was a big contrast to the first two sessions when he and Bashar produced their record partnership, the highest for any wicket against any country by Bangladesh since they were accorded Test status in 2000.
The previous Bangladesh highest for any wicket against any country was also held by Omar and Bashar who put on 131 runs against South Africa at Chittagong last April.
Bashar has now featured in eight of the nine century partnerships recorded by Bangladesh.
Pakistan skipper Latif kept ringing the changes in the bowling, hoping to unsettle the batsmen but despite all his efforts there were only two occasions in the day when the batsmen played false strokes.
Bashar, on 57 and with the total on 118 runs, offered a sharp chance to Yasir Hameed at silly point off Kaneria but he did not accept the chance. Than on 84 he played a drive at Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammad Hafeez just got a hand to the ball in the covers.
But apart from these two alarms, the batsmen were in total command as even the world’s fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar struggled in the hot and humid conditions, being used in five short spells. At one stage, he was even physically sick.
Bashar brushed aside the feeling that conditions were unbearable for the players on the field at the Arbab Niaz stadium.
“No, I think in Karachi the humidity was more. Here it was bearable. But maybe for the bowlers it was hard bowling on a pitch which is excellent for batting,” he said.