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Babar
World Test Championship

Babar, Masood centuries give Pakistan big lead

Pak v Ban, 1st Test, day two, report

Centuries for Shan Masood and Babar Azam, and a fifty for Asad Shafiq set Pakistan up for a strong lead on day two of the first Test against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi.

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While Masood fell right after reaching three figures, ending a third-wicket stand at 112, Babar kept going. He added another unbroken 137 for the fourth wicket with Shafiq (60*), finishing unbeaten on 143 at stumps on Saturday, 8 February. The top order easily overhauled Bangladesh's first-innings total of 233, extending the hosts' score to 342/3 and their advantage to 109. 

Bangladesh, who began the morning promisingly, getting the wicket of Abid Ali for a duck in the second over, were deflated as the day went on. They were made to rue their missed chances, including a drop of Babar soon after lunch, when he was on 3.

After Abid fell chasing a wide delivery, Masood and skipper Azhar Ali saw out the new ball, combining for 91 runs and lasting for most of the first session. The opener imposed himself without taking risks, driving beautifully on his way to a brisk half-century in just 54 balls.   

However, having done the hard work, Azhar allowed Bangladesh back in a few overs before lunch, edging a wide-ish one off Abu Jayed to the slip fielder.

The visitors could have enjoyed a firm hold on proceedings if Ebadat Hossain at mid-off hadn't fluffed Babar's catch. Babar, who had looked scratchy till then, stepped out to Taijul Islam, only to miscue the shot and ending up slicing it to the fielder. He recovered well, though, taking over the attack even as Masood slowed down.

Masood reached his third Test century in 157 balls late in the second session, before a lapse in an otherwise disciplined innings saw him depart three balls later. It gave Bangladesh another ray of hope going into tea, but that too was diminished as Babar upped the ante.

The No.4 showed off his range, reaching his fifth Test hundred with a boundary behind square. A six over deep mid-wicket off the new ball was added to his 19 fours, and with Shafiq contributing eight boundaries of his own, runs came easily.

The final session yielded 136 in 32.5 overs before poor light brought an early end to the day's play.    

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