Afghanistan firm up lead against Bangladesh

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Afghanistan ended day three of the one-off test against Bangladesh with a resounding 374-run lead in the one-off Test at the Zohar Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong. Afghanistan, playing in merely their third test, were seen at 237/8 at Stump's as play was stopped for the day with middle-order batsman Afsar Zazai perched at a firm footing, batting at 34 off 83 balls, while night-watchman Yamin Ahmadsai is yet to open his account.

 

Earlier Bangladesh was bundled for 205, with Afghanistan leading the first innings by 137 runs. The Afghan captain and star, leg spinner Rashid Khan was the pick of the bowlers with a five-wicket haul (5/55) finally trapping tail-ender Nayeem Hassan while the experienced Nabi chipped in with three wickets. Afghanistan did have a momentary scare when Shakib docked back-to-back wickets in the very first over of the second innings, by first getting the better of Ihsanullah before clinching a return catch off his own bowling by meting out Rahmat Shah, Afghanistan’s centurion in the first innings as the guests reeled at 4/2. However, a 108 run partnership between opener Ibrahim Zadran, 87 (208) and former Afghan captain, Asghar Afghan, 50(108) helped Afghanistan claw back into the game.

 

It should be noted that the highest successful test chase ever, occurred at St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda when the Caribbean force of the West Indies chased down 418 in the fourth innings against a mighty Australian outfit. With this yardstick, not far behind, Bangladesh bowlers would look to go all out in restricting Afghanistan early on, in day four and then chase the total with two more days of cricket expected, on the anvil. They are expected to keep a vigil against the trio of Rashid, Nabi and the much spoken Chinaman-youngster Zahir Khan on a turning pitch, which has been rewarding spinners. Bangladesh's last test victory came against the West Indies on 30.11.2018 at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium, Dhaka while Afghanistan registered their maiden test victory against Ireland on March 18th at Dehradun.

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