Khulna, Bangladesh: Unbeaten centuries by openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes helped Bangladesh to virtually wipe out a massive first-innings deficit after bowling out Pakistan for 628 on the fourth day Friday of the first cricket test.
Tamim, on 138, and Kayes, on 132, propelled Bangladesh to 273 without loss at stumps, the highest partnership in its test history.
The record feat slashed Pakistan's 296-run first-innings lead to just 23, and from a slim chance of saving the test to a probable likelihood on the unthreatening pitch at Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium.
"The first session tomorrow will be important," said Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq, still hoping to win the match. "We are still in the game, and it's a matter of (taking) two or three wickets in the morning. If so, we can press for victory.
"The wicket was good and they played really well. But we need one or two wickets to change the complexion of the game."
Tamim's third century in three tests was also his seventh overall, making him Bangladesh's leading century-maker, while Kayes notched his second century in consecutive tests.
"I want to dedicate these three successive centuries to my aunty who died last night," Tamim said. "I was thinking to take a day off to attend the funeral but later opted out of the plan because the country comes first to me."
Pakistan bowled tirelessly on the flat pitch without any luck, after it was all out for 628 just before lunch.
That total and the 296-run lead ought to have intimidated Bangladesh, but after lunch Tamim and Kayes showed no fear.
"Coach suggested to us not to look at the scoreboard and enjoy our game," Tamim said. "We did so. Both of us didn't talk about going on the attack. When we got the ball in our zone we played our shots.
"Tomorrow morning's session will be vital to determine the course of the game. Still, the wicket is good to play (on)."
He and Kayes smashed the Pakistani bowling, scoring at almost 4 1/2 runs per over. Only left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar, given 16 overs and used the most, went for less than 4 an over.
Tamim smashed 13 boundaries and four sixes in his 183-ball knock, while Kayes hit 14 fours and three over the fence while playing 185 balls.
They were also involved in a 224-run opening partnership in Bangladesh's previous test against Zimbabwe, in which both of them made centuries. But it was the first time in Bangladesh's 15-year test history that two batsmen made centuries in a single day.
Pakistan, in a desperate bid for Tamim's wicket, twice appealed through video reviews, and failed to convince the third umpire on both occasions.
Tamim took to the bowlers with utter derision before he slowed down a bit in the last session. He reached his 50 off 63 balls, and his century after tea off 123 balls, getting there with two consecutive boundaries off fast bowler Junaid Khan.
While Tamim made a whirlwind start, Kayes was a bit shaky. He was beaten by Khan twice but gradually regained his composure by hitting Mohammad Hafeez for a six and four in three balls.
He became the 13th Bangladesh batsman to reach 1,000 test runs when he got to 81.
Kayes brought up his ton with a sweep of Zulfiqar to backward square leg for a single. He'd taken 153 balls. Tamim was on 134 at the time, but by stumps they were virtually level.
Earlier, Pakistan established a 296-run first-innings lead, moving from 537-5 overnight to 628.
Sarfraz Ahmed and Shafiq were at ease in bringing up their century partnership for the sixth wicket. But after Sarfraz was out for 82 off debutant Mohammad Shami, Shafiq followed by giving a return catch to Shakib Al Hasan for 83.
Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam mopped up to finish with 6-163 off 46.4 overs.