A sparkling maiden double century by Mohammad Hafeez (224) and some splendid batting by Pakistani batsmen have put the tourists in a commanding position on the third day of the first Test in Khulna.
The tourists piled up 537 for five at stumps after starting on an overnight score of 227 for one, taking a lead of 205 runs.
A scintillating 227-run stand between Hafeez and Azhar Ali (83) backed by five other 50-plus partnerships helped Pakistan claim the day for themselves.
Asad Shafiq (51) and Sarfraz Ahmed (51) were trying to extend Pakistan’s first innings advantage at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium on Thursday.
Although Bangladesh bowlers broke the overnight stand between Hafeez, who started the day on 137, and Azhar, they failed to stop the flow of runs in the first session.
Rubel Hossain got to reverse swing the ball but the Bangladesh spinners could not extract much turn or bounce from the pitch and were repeatedly punished for wayward deliveries by Hafeez and Azhar Ali.
Hafeez kept hitting short balls and slapping Shakib Al Hasan towards the leg side.
Even after Azhar was castled by a Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury flatter and quicker ball, Bangladesh could not keep the runs down as veteran Younis Khan (33) came in and added 62 with Hafeez.
Stand-in captain Tamim Iqbal used one of Bangladesh’s reviews when Hafeez missed a sweep to be hit in the front by Shuvagata. The umpire’s not out decision was upheld.
Hafeez and Younis played all round the wicket bringing up their 50 partnership in 69 balls as Pakistan went for lunch at 333 for two in 88 overs. They scored 106 run in the first session.
After the break, Taijul Islam went through Younis Khan’s gate when the veteran at 33 tried a lazy push to bring some relief to the hosts.
As Hafeez cruised towards his maiden double century, Bangladesh bowlers were visibly trying to rein in the runs. But Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq (59) kept the scoreboard moving and added another 63 in the fourth wicket partnership.
Misbah opened his account by launching his third delivery down the ground for a six off Taijul and went on to play solid strokes on both side of the wicket.
Hafeez veered Taijul fine down the leg-side and ran for a two to bring up his maiden double century off 286 balls in the 36th over. He laced his 332-ball innings with 23 fours and three sixes.
As Shakib and Shuvagata started soaking up the runs, Hafeez seemed enthusiastic to reroute the scoring rate.
His majestic knock ended when Mahmudullah took a sharp catch at leg-slip when the batsman swept hard but gloved it off Shuvagata.
Pakistan went for tea on 421 for four adding 88 runs in the second session.
Asad Shafiq, in at six, took little time to settle in and executed a pull and a drive off Mohammad Shahid for two consecutive boundaries.
Bangladesh bowlers tightened their line and length but the pair cropped up 66 runs in the fifth wicket partnership before the Tigers sent the Pakistan captain back.
Misbah topedged off Taijul when he swept hard as the bowler tossed it up and sent it flying to Rubel Hossain at backward square leg for a comfortable catch.
Shafiq kept the Pakistan charge on track with Sarfraz, who showed urgency to score immediately after arriving at the crease as the Pakistan brought up their 500 in the 139th over.
Bangladesh used up their review for the day when in an lbw shout for Sarfraz which was turned down by the third umpire as replays showed the ball hitting well outside the off stump.
Sarfraz pressed on hammering Mahmudullah for several boundaries and a six as Pakistan looked to rack up as many runs as possible before the close of day. The middle-order batsman scored his fifty off only 53 balls.
Tamim kept changing the bowling attack in the hope of a wicket, as Shafiq and Sarfraz brought up half-centuries after putting up the sixth 50-up partnership.
Pakistan added 116 runs in the final session of the day as Taijul returned 3 for 116 while Shuvagata finished with 2 for 112 for the hosts.
Although the BCB had said on Wednesday that Mushfiqur Rahim’s finger injury was not that serious the regular Test captain was not on the field on Thursday.
Imrul Kayes took his place behind the wickets and Tamim played the stand-in captain for Bangladesh.