Sports desk, September 05: The maiden Test ton by Afghanistan batsman Rahmat Shah and an unbeaten knock of 88 by Asghar Afghan put the tourists on an upper hand at the end of day-1 of the solitary Test against hosts Bangladesh at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Thursday.Riding on the two imperious innings of Rahmat and Asghar, Afghanistan posted 271 runs for five wickets in 96 overs at the end of the day. Asghar and Afsar Zazar were batting on 88 and 35 respectively when the umpires put the bails off.
Asghar batted for two full sessions to keep Bangladeshi bowlers struggling to dislodge him. However, Afghanistan batsmen proved they are well-equipped to face Bangladesh’s spin challenge.
In the first session, Taijul Islam bagged two wickets and Mahmudullah Riyad took one at the stroke of lunch break. Along the way, Taijul completed 100 Test wickets as the fastest Bangladeshi. Mohammad Rafique and Shakib Al Hasan are the other Bangladeshi bowlers to touch the milestone of 100 Test wickets.
However, Bangladesh failed to dominate in the second session as Afghanistan played it without losing any wicket.
In the second session, Afghanistan added 114 runs on the board and in the last session, they posted 80 runs losing two more wickets.
After Taijul, Nayeem Hasan also bagged two wickets. Nayeem removed the centurion Rahmat and Mohammad Nabi at 197 runs. While Rahmat hit a ton, Nabi failed to add anything on the board as he got out playing only three deliveries.
Earlier, Rashid Khan, who became the youngest player to lead a team in Tests, won the toss and opted to bat first.
Ihsanullah and Ibrahim Zadran started the innings adding 19 runs in the opening stand. The partnership broke when Taijul removed Ihsanullah.
Rahmat Shah and Ibrahim added 29 runs in the second wicket stand and were looking forward to building the innings slowly. But it was Taijul who scalped another wicket to break the potential big partnership removing Ibrahim for 21.
In the second wicket stand, Rahmat and Hashmatullah added another 29 runs, and they were also looking comfortable in the middle. They were playing Bangladesh’s four-pronged spin attack with much concentration.
But at the stroke of the first break of the day, Mahmudullah sent Hashmatullah back to the dressing room. Soumya Sarkar took a blinder on the second attempt.
Hashmatullah was looking to cut the ball but it was too fast to manage. And eventually, he ended up losing his wicket right before the lunch, which left the tourists struggling at the end of the season at 77 for three.
However, in the end, the fragile batting display of Afghanistan during the first session was nearly forgotten due to their valiant comeback in the next two sessions.
Both Bangladesh and Afghanistan are playing this match depending much on their spin arsenal. While Bangladesh did not pick any recognised pace-bowler, Afghanistan have gone for Yamin Ahmedzai. Both teams picked more than three specialist spinners in their XI.
Bangladesh and Afghanistan played eight ODIs and four T20Is before, but it is the first chapter of their Test rivalry and in this rivalry, Bangladesh are not much ahead of the Afghans lads.