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Rahmat makes Afghanistan test history against Bangladesh

September 5, 2019

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AP) — Rahmat Shah became the first from Afghanistan to hit a test hundred as a resolute batting performance against Bangladesh earned them the first-day honors on Thursday.

Rahmat’s 102 and Asghar Afghan’s 88 not out led Afghanistan to 271-5 at stumps in the one-off test, the visitors’ third ever.

Rahmat and Asghar came together at the start of the second session, after Afghanistan went to lunch at 77-3. They batted through the session, and achieved a national record 120-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Afsar Zazai, on 35, was with Asghar at stumps, on a record 74-run stand for the sixth wicket.

After new Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan, the youngest skipper in test history at age 20, won the toss and lined up four spinners — two making their debut — to face Bangladesh’s four, the home side bit first.

Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam flummoxed Ihsanullah Janat on 4 with a googly for his 100th wicket in 25 tests, making him the fastest Bangladeshi to the milestone.

Taijul also dismissed the other opener, Ibrahim Zadran, with 21 on debut, and Mahmudullah struck in his first over to remove Hashmatullah Shahidi on 14.

Asghar joined Rahmat to frustrate Bangladesh in the second session, and put up runs at good pace on a pitch that offered turn and bounce aplenty. Their careful approach kept Afghanistan unscathed.

“They were bowling a good line and length and had a good field setup for me,” Rahmat said. “It was not easy for me to score runs, that is why I was using the crease and coming on the front foot as well.”

Rahmat made 98 against Ireland in Afghanistan’s previous test, and didn’t miss the chance to make history this time. After taking tea on 97, he reached the century off 186 balls with a late cut off the back foot wide of backward point for a boundary from a delivery by offspinner Nayeem Hasan.

“I was very upset when I got out scoring 98 against Ireland,” Rahmat said.

“It is a proud moment for me. I am the first person to have the first half century (in tests) for the country and now the century.”

His maiden century and third fifty-plus knock in five innings was laced with 10 boundaries and two sixes.

But he was dismissed on the next delivery by Nayeem, not moving his feet and giving a simple catch to slip.

In the same eventful 70th over, Nayeem removed Mohammad Nabi for a duck to bring Bangladesh back in contention at 197-5.

But Asghar, who overturned an lbw dismissal on 42, consolidated Afghanistan’s increasing control with support from Afsar.

For Bangladesh, Taijul and Nayeem had two wickets apiece.

“Their spinners are good but haven’t played much test cricket,” Taijul said. “So their lack of test experience will be exposed at some point, and therefore I think we are still ahead of them.”

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