Pakistan going for the kill
"Plan is to take the remaining three wickets [of Bangladesh's first innings]. And then send them [Bangladesh] to bat again, get them bundled out once again and win this game," Pakistan off-spinner Sajid Khan said with the same zeal and energy that he had bowled with yesterday against Bangladesh on the fourth day of their second Test in Mirpur.
Other than Bangladesh skipper Mominul Haque's run-out, all the other six wickets of the Tigers were scalped by Sajid, who is playing only his fourth Test. And hence, it was not at all an exaggeration on the part of Sajid when he issued the warning of sending Bangladesh to follow-on, to avoid which the Tigers would require to score 25 more runs with three wickets in hand.
It seemed almost improbable for the Test, which had a whole day washed out due to rain and only 6.2 overs bowled on another day, to end in anything other than a stalemate.
However, with how things panned out on the penultimate day of the game -- Pakistan declaring after 300 for four in the first innings and Sajid's exploits coupled with Bangladesh's impetuous batting -- a win for the visitors is now definitely on the cards.
In fact, at this point, it seems like Pakistan are playing against time and elements as the bad weather and only a day left to play now present greater threats than Bangladesh. With cloud cover and slight rain in the forecast for today as well, Pakistan's rush to wrap the game up is understandable.
It seems as if the off-spin of the inexperienced Sajid will be the crucial cog in turning Pakistan's hopes of winning the game into a reality today. And the 28-year-old was confident.
"The type of wicket it is, I was able to get turns even with the new ball. Sometimes you can get wickets with your fielding as well. And even if I don't get any turn tomorrow [Wednesday], we will try to get the wickets with our fielding," Sajid added.
Not only Sajid but the way the two captains approached the game could also go a long way to show that Pakistan's hunger to snatch more than just 20 points, awarded in the event of a draw, from this World Test Championship (WTC) fixture was greater than Bangladesh.
Instead of setting a more stable total, Babar Azam declared the moment his side reached the 300-run mark in the first innings, indicating the willingness to pursue a result by taking the slightest of chances on offer in overcast conditions and on a deteriorating Mirpur surface.
Moreover, even though Pakistan's strength lie in their pace threat of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali, Babar did not hesitate to continue playing when the umpires had deemed light to be unfit to employ pacers further after Afridi had troubled Bangladesh batters with pace and swing in the opening over of the Tigers' first innings.
On the contrary, Bangladesh skipper Mominul Haque had opted to stop playing when bad light had forced the officials to put him in a similar situation post-tea on the opening day of the Test.