Naseem Shah’s fourth ball of his eighth over was full and nipped back in sharply from wide of the crease to hit the pads of Nazmul Hossain. On the naked eye, it seemed that the ball would leave the leg stump and thus the on-field umpire turned down Pakistan’s vociferous appeal. But Azhar Ali went for the review and Pakistan ended the defiant stand of Nazmul and Mominul Haque.

The fifth ball was on a similar length but delivered with a bit more pace – it was too much for the nightwatchman Taijul Islam. Bangladesh lost their fourth wicket and Naseem was on a hat-trick.

Mahmudullah Riyad came out to bat to avoid the hat-trick ball. Naseem delivered one wide outside off at which Mahmudullah attempted a tentative push without feet movement – the ball flew towards slip and was caught safely.

The 16-year old Pakistani tearaway pace bowler was delirious to bag a hat-trick on home soil since Mohammad Sami achieved the same feat against Sri Lanka in the Asian Test Championship in 2002. Naseem is the fifth Pakistani bowler in Test matches to bag a hat-trick and the youngest ever in history.

A few overs later, Mohammad Mithun’s brain exploded and attempted a nothing shot against Yasir Shah’s zooter. No one could decipher what was Mithun even thinking while executing such a stroke, which a tail-ender does not even attempt these days.

The description above completely masks the good performance by Bangladesh on Day 3 until Naseem Shah’s eventful over.

Bangladesh’s morning started brightly as the sunshine at Rawalpindi. Aby Jayed and Ebadat Hossain bowled with enough intent to unsettle the Pakistani batters.

Abu Jayed was extremely impressive with his strict line-and-length – the ball hardly swayed down the legside or landed on a half-volley length, but always pitched in-and-around the corridor of uncertainty – Babar Azam walked towards the pavilion without adding anything to the overnight score and Bangladesh bowlers achieved the momentum, which they lacked on Day 2.

Ebadat then joined the party of fetching wickets and after the drinks, Rubel Hossain bagged scalps – costly, but his late-movements off the deck were worthy enough. Haris Sohail’s counterattack swelled the lead, but the progress was halted by a charged-up Bangladeshi bowling attack.

One of the striking points of Bangladesh bowling in the morning was the way Jayed attacked Haris from round the wicket –the line was remarkable. Jayed kept it around middle and offstump.

If the ball was around middle stump, it hinted off moving away rather than coming back in, while, when he targeted the off, the ball landed in a third and fourth stump line. This might be the effect of bowling coach Ottis Gibson, who did a great job with Stuart Broad in bowling from round the wicket.

Bangladesh’s batting looked steady enough. Nazmul and Mominul batted without any hiccups. Mominul flirted less against the deliveries bowled outside off, moved his feet better and played with a straight bat. Nazmul looked solid defensively, but all hard work went down the drain in the 41st over of Bangladesh’s second innings.

 

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