A world record second innings opening stand between Tamim Iqbal (206) and Imrul kayes (150) helped Bangladesh salvage a draw against Pakistan in the Khulna Test.
Tamim smashed a majestic double century, only second Bangladesh batsman other than Mushfiqur Rahim to achieve the feat, after combining with Kayes for a remarkable 312-run partnership at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium on Friday.
The pair surpassed previous highest second innings opening stand in Test history, 290, set in 1960 by English openers Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Pullar against South Africa.
Kayes walked shoulder to shoulder with Tamim until he perished. But the latter remained unfazed and went on to reach the landmark highest score for Bangladesh.
The striking feature of Bangladesh’s batting in the second innings was their ability to seamlessly change gears from time to time.
Bangladesh notched up 555 for six, their highest second innings score in Tests, when the captains decided to settle on a draw after rain had interrupted the final day’s play in two spells.
It was also the first time Pakistan had conceded more than 500 in the second innings and in the process registered their first ever draw against Tigers in nine Tests played between them. Bangladesh had lost all the previous Tests.
The hosts were off to a slow start with an overnight score of 273 for no loss.
Tamim and Kayes scored only six runs in the first five overs, with Kayes playing out three maidens on a trot from Junaid Khan.
Keen to retrieve their confidence after Friday’s battering, Pakistan bowlers managed to swing the ball early. Tamim was greeted with a fierce Junaid inswinger that struck him on the boot as the batsman lost balance and fell.
Kayes cracked Junaid for a boundary to draw level with Cowdrey and Pullar’s 55-year old record as Tamim charged down the track to Yasir Shah and drove him in the next over to take the lead.
Pakistan finally ended the mammoth stand when Kayes holed out at long-off of Zulfiqar Babar.
Kayes’ career-best innings of 150 off 240 balls contained 16 boundaries and three sixes.
A couple of overs later, rain stopped play as the teams went for lunch.
After the break, Mominul Haque (21), in at three, looked edgy at the crease but he smashed Babar for six and a four to smoothen his nerves.
After a drizzle interrupted play briefly again, the pair played cautiously.
But Mominul charged forward and Junaid Khan sneaked through his gates to knock his stumps.
Mahmudullah (40) seemed calm from outset as he started off with a boundary by pulling Junaid Khan through midwicket.
He and Tamim rotated the strike regularly to keep the scoreboard moving, adding another 54 for the third wicket.
The left-handed opener thumped Yasir Shah for two consecutive sixes over long-on before hammering Junaid Khan straight over the top for another in the next over to reach the milestone.
Tamim knocked Bangladesh’s second double ton after Mushfiqur Rahim’s 200 against Sri Lanka in 2013 before walking back stumped off Mohammad Hafeez.
Hafeez’s turn and bounce surprised Tamim who came out of the crease only to find his bails taken off before he could scamper back. He plundered 17 boundaries and seven sixes in his majestic 278-ball innings.
By then Bangladesh’s lead has swelled to 103 runs.
Thereafter, Shakib Al Hasan (76 not out) led the charge with a 64-run fourth-wicket partnership with Mahmudullah and a 60-run fifth-wicket stand with Soumya Sarkar, who was once again out on 33.
Shakib and Mahmudullah took Bangladesh past 413, their previous highest second innings total.
With the game inevitably headed towards a draw, the players shook hands and settled for a draw.
Tamim Iqbal was adjudged Man of the Match for leading the Tigers fightback with the fantastic double century and pairing with Kayes in the record stand.
“I am very pleased. Whatever I planed came off nicely. It was a much-needed innings for me and my team as well. I was in an attacking mood. He [Kayes] was controlling the innings. It was a great combination,” the 26-year old said at the presentation ceremony.