Ton-up Islam leads strong Bangladesh reply

Updated 16 November 2012
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Ton-up Islam leads strong Bangladesh reply

DHAKA: Middle-order batsman Naeem Islam made a maiden Test century while Shakib Al Hasan smashed a dominating 89 to help Bangladesh thwart the West Indies in the first Test in Dhaka yesterday.
The pair made a record fourth-wicket stand of 167 to help the home team close the third day on 455-6, just 72 shy of the visitors’ imposing first innings total of 527-4 declared.
Islam, whose previous Test best was 59 not out against England in Dhaka in 2010, added another 76 runs for the fifth wicket with Mushfiqur Rahim (43) to end West Indies’s hopes of enforcing the follow-on.
At stumps, Mohammad Mahmudullah was unbeaten on 42 and Nasir Hossain 33 not out. The pair have so far added 87 on the unresponsive Shere Bangla stadium pitch.
The West Indian bowlers labored for wickets as the home team had done on the first two days.
Paceman Ravi Rampaul has been the pick of the attack with three wickets for 101 runs. Skipper Darren Sammy has two wickets and debutant spinner Veerasammy Permaul one.
Spinner Sunil Narine has failed to translate his Twenty20 success into the longer form of the game, conceding 89 runs in his 21 wicketless overs.
Islam finally lost concentration after tea, caught behind from a tired shot off Sammy’s bowling. His 108 included 17 boundaries and lasted 255 balls.
Islam said he was happy to help his team mount a spirited reply.
“It’s a great honor to score a Test hundred,” said the 25-year-old. “I always try to follow a game plan and all through this innings I tried to maintain that, selecting my shots as my team needed me to stay at the crease.
“In the end it’s a good feeling to help the team with a hundred. It was great to bat alongside Shakib and Tamim (Iqbal) and I am happy about contributing in my team’s recovery.” In the morning session Shakib provided the aggression while Islam proved a rock at the other end as they added 88 runs before lunch.
Shakib, who hit 10 fours and a six in his 143-ball innings, was dismissed by Rampaul for 89 soon after lunch. He failed to keep a drive down and was caught in the covers, showing great disappointment at missing out on a well-deserved hundred.
His stand with Islam was the best fourth-wicket partnership for Bangladesh in all Tests, topping the 120 by Habibul Bashar and Manjural Islam against the West Indies at Kingston in 2004.
Naeem reached his first Test century with a four to fine leg off paceman Tino Best.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim also gave a gutsy performance, hitting seven fours and a six in his 43 before giving Permaul a return catch for his first Test wicket.
The second and final Test will be in Khulna from Nov. 21.


Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’

Updated 32 min 8 sec ago
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Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’

  • Fawad Alam is a seasoned player, but the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well, says Pakistani skipper
  • Former test opener Ramiz Raja claims there are flaws in Alam’s batting technique

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has defended the 16-man national squad for tours of Ireland and England as the “best of the best” despite criticism over the omission of batsman Fawad Alam.
“It’s not like I voted him (Alam) out,” Ahmed said on the last day of Pakistan’s training camp in Lahore on Saturday, adding that “I would have picked all the 25 ... but we had to pick the best of the best 16 players.”
Wasim Akram was among several former Pakistan test players who have criticized selectors for ignoring Alam in the middle order — especially since Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have now retired.
Alam was among 25 players called up for the camp after scoring consistently on the domestic circuit, but he failed to make the final squad.
Former test opener Ramiz Raja claimed there were flaws in Alam’s batting technique and that he would not have considered the left-hander, considering the tough conditions in England.
Ahmed played down the dispute.
“People can make as much reasons to talk, but there is nothing like flaws in anyone’s batting technique,” Ahmed said. “If you look back, Fawad had played a test in 2009 and he is a seasoned player ... (but) the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well.”
Ahmed said it had been a “unanimous decision” by coach, captain and selectors.
Pakistan has included uncapped batsmen Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali in the final 16, as well as Fakhar Zaman, who has done well in limited-overs cricket but is yet to play a test match.
Misbah and Younis will be missed on a tour of England where Misbah scored a century at Lord’s in 2016 and Younis made 218 at The Oval in the fourth test to draw the series 2-2.
Pakistan has two four-day matches against Kent and Northamptonshire before meeting Ireland in a one-off test at Dublin, starting May 11. It plays two tests against England, starting May 24.
Pakistan will also play Scotland on June 12-13 in two Twenty20 Internationals.
Pakistan faced a major blow when its premier legspinner Yasir Shah was ruled out due to injury. However, Ahmed said he wasn’t sure that Shadab Khan, who has played just one test match, would make it to the final team with the English conditions more suitable for pace.
“The weather will be much cooler and I am not even sure if we are going to play a spinner,” Ahmed said.