Dhaka: Captain Azhar Ali cracked his maiden century as Pakistan wasted a great start against Bangladesh and slumped to be all out for 250 in the 49th over of the third One-day International today. Bangladesh, which chased down 240 in 39 overs on Sunday to win the second ODI, sought a first three-match sweep of Pakistan. Azhar made 101 off 112 balls, hitting 10 to the boundary. He shared in two significant partnerships before Bangladesh hit back.
Azhar and fellow opener Sami Aslam, on debut, combined for 91. Aslam made a fluent 45, hitting seven fours off 50 balls. Both openers dealt with the Bangladeshi spinners with relative ease, until Nasir Hossain got the faintest off nicks off Aslam’s thumb in the 18th over. Sunny then continued Mohammad Hafeez’s horror run of form, bowling him with a straight delivery when he was on 4. Azhar, however, helped the side recover with the help of Haris Sohail. They shared 98 runs for the third wicket. Sohail struck 52 off 58 with one four and two sixes.
In the process, Azhar brought up his maiden century with a double, flicking his counterpart Mashrafe Bin Mortaza towards mid-wicket. Azhar became the first Pakistan captain to hit an ODI century since Shahid Afridi in 2010. Azhar’s joy was short-lived, as Shakib Al Hasan removed him with an arm-ball in the next over to leave Pakistan still well poised on 203-3 in the 39th over.
Sohail departed four runs later, slicing Mashrafe for an easy catch. The double dismissals sparked a sensational collapse. Pakistan lost its last six wickets for 43 runs on a pitch considered favourable to batsmen. Left-arm spinners Shakib and Arafat Sunny, and fast bowlers Mashrafe and Rubel Hossain took two wickets each.