In what could herald an upheaval in world cricket, Bangladesh continued its humiliation of visiting Pakistan by forcing a draw in the First Test of their guests’ current tour — a draw that, according to most cricket experts, is as good as a win for Bangladesh, and as bad as a loss for Pakistan.
The Test was the ninth ever played between Pakistan and Bangladesh — and the first time that Pakistan had not won outright.
After all five days in Khulna, the teams had combined for 1,515 runs while just 26 wickets fell, an average of just over 58 runs per wicket, leading a former Pakistan great to accuse Bangladesh administrators of deliberately preparing a slow pitch in order to create a high-scoring draw.
“Bangladesh have succeeded in their strategy to draw the match and this is the reason why such a slow track was prepared for this match,” Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan captain who is considered the greatest wicket keeper the country has ever produced, told Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper. “I believe that the pitch was the talking point in this match because batting was way too easy on it and you can’t really blame the bowlers.”
Of course, both teams were required to bowl on the same pitch, and in the first innings, Pakistan bowlers managed to restrict their hosts to 332 from 120 overs.
The Test Match concluded Saturday afternoon at Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna, Bangladesh, with 15 mandatory overs remaining and Shakib Al Hasan on the strike with 76 runs already on his ledger. But the Bangladeshi superstar elected to allow the umpires to pull up stumps and take the draw, rather than keep batting and go for his own century.
In the end, Bangladesh batsmen overhauled what appeared to be a dominant Pakistan lead of 296 after the first innings to build a 259 run bulge of their own on the final day making a draw inevitable.
The turning point of the Test Match, where the draw was genuinely determined, came in the colossal opening second innings stand of Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, whose partnership completely erased the apparent match-winning Pakistan lead.
Kayes was finally caught out for 150 while Iqbal stayed in to register 206, the highest score ever by a Bangladesh batsman in a Test Match.
While complaints about the slow pitch may briefly dominate discussion of the historic match, the fact remains that Bangladesh dominated Pakistan through three One Day Internationals and a T20 in Dhaka before the First Test. With the Second and final Test of the tour set to open on Wednesday, there seems little doubt that Bangladesh has declared itself as a major world cricket power.
[Images: Richard Heathcote/Graham Chadwick/Getty Images]