Multan: Bangladesh took a giant step toward their maiden Test victory on Thursday as Pakistan stumbled to 148 for six on the third day of the third Test in Multan. Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul Haq fought a lone battle in his hometown before bad light stopped the day’s play 8.3 overs before scheduled close.
Needing 113 runs to deal minnows Bangladesh a whitewash in the three-match series, Inzamam ended play with an unbeaten 53, while Saqlain Mushtaq was batting on three.
Inzamam brought up his half century off 101 balls when he hit his seventh boundary just before close.
Earlier, pacemen Umar Gul (4/58) and Shabbir Ahmad (4/68) captured four wickets each after Bangladesh added another 77 runs to their overnight score before being dismissed for 154 in the second innings. It gave the visitors an overall lead of 260 runs.
Bangladesh’s Rajin Saleh, who missed his half century by just one run in the first innings hit seven boundaries in his attractive knock of 42 runs.
Pakistan conceded a hefty 106-run lead after it was bowled out for 175 in reply to Bangladesh’s first innings effort of 281.
Pakistan’s rookie opening batsman Salman Butt made a rapid 37 with seven boundaries to give Pakistan a flying start of 45 runs under overcast skies.
Bangladesh, yet to taste victory, didn’t lose composure despite Butt’s whirlwind start. Although Habibul Bashar and Hannan Sarkar both spilled catches in the slips, substitute fielder Mashrafe bin Mortaza took three superb catches at point as Pakistan slumped to 78 for three in only the 22nd over.
Butt was brilliantly caught by Mashrafe before he neatly held onto Mohammad Hafeez’s (18) lightning cut short. Both fell to left-arm medium fast bowler Monjural Islam, who didn’t figure in Bangladesh’s first two Test defeats of the series.
Yasir Hameed, who scored centuries in both innings of his debut Test in Karachi last month, hit two boundaries in Bangladesh skipper Khaled Mahmud’s one over before he too top edged to agile Mashrafe.
Younis Khan, making a comeback into the side, was run out without facing a delivery. When another Pakistan newcomer Farhan Adil edged to Habibul Bashar, Pakistan had their back against the wall at 99 for five. Skipper Rashid Latif contributed just five runs in a 33-run sixth wicket stand with Inzamam but was trapped leg before wicket to Mahmud 30 minutes before close.
Mahmud, with his gentle medium pace, once again surprised Pakistan and took two wickets for 33 off a steady 16 overs. Monjural also claimed two scalps while Rafique chipped in with one wicket.
The start of play was delayed due to bad light caused by a dust storm. The grounds men were forced to bring on the covers just 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the play.
Latif finished with 18 dismissals in the series — a new Pakistan record for most dismissals in a three-match series erasing Salim Yousuf’s 15 (all catches) against New Zealand in 1990-91.
Pakistan lead the series 2-0 following their seven- and nine-wicket wins in Karachi and Peshawar last month.