Babar, Azhar lay solid base for Pakistan on a truncated opening day in Dhaka

Skipper Babar Azam has paired with Azhar Ali in an unbroken 91-run partnership to give Pakistan a strong start against Bangladesh on the opening day of the second Test disrupted by rain and bad light in Dhaka.

The visitors were 161 for two at stumps with Babar going strong on 60 off 99 balls and his partner battling on 36 off 112 balls before the entire third session was called off on Saturday due to overcast conditions at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.

After Azam chose to bat in the last Test of the tour, Pakistan openers Abid Ali (39) and Abdullah Shafique (25) eased to 59 runs before spinner Taijul Islam (2-49) penetrated their defences.

Having scored back-to-back century stands in their victory in the first Test in Chattogram, Abid and Shafique made steady progress with eight boundaries and a six between them before lunch.

The seamers posed no threat to the openers as the duo put away poor deliveries and unsettled Ebadot Hossain and Khaled Ahmed, scoring around four runs per over in the first 10 overs. Skipper Mominul Haque then brought on the spinners.

Back in the side after an absence in Chattogram, southpaw Shakib Al Hasan and Taijul delivered measly spells, stifling the batsmen for runs as the boundaries dried up.

After Shafique launched Taijul for a six for the shot of the day, the spinner breached the defences of both the batsmen with arm balls and left the visitors on 78 for two at the stroke of lunch.

The momentum shifted to Bangladesh’s favour when they came out for the second session. Azhar struggled to cope with the turn and bounce offered by the spinner, though Babar operated smoothly at the other end.

The Tigers kept probing for another wicket nearly an hour into the session but the skies then began pouring and Pakistan were back in charge after a 25-minute rain break with whatever hesitation Babar had disappearing while Shafique remained on guard.

Khaled put down a tough catch at the boundary as Babar took the aerial route. He then clipped one to the leg side to bring up his half-century as the spinners struggled to grip the ball.

Play will begin earlier on the next four days but rain has been forecasted for the rest of the game.