Dhaka, Bangladesh: Pakistan left Bangladesh in a troublesome position at 107-5 at stumps on the second day of the second test on Thursday, raising the prospect of ending its win drought in the tour after Azhar Ali's maiden double century helped it declare the first innings on 557-8.
Trailing by 450 runs, Bangladesh still needs 251 runs to avoid the follow-on with Shakib Al Hasan batting on 14.
The dismissal of Mushfiqur Rahim (12) in the penultimate ball of the day, which prompted the umpires to draw the bails for the day, extended the agony of the hosts in a pretty disappointing day.
"Avoiding the follow-on is our first target," said Bangladesh opener Imrul Kayes. "It looks tough but anything is possible in cricket. Just in the previous test, we made a comeback from a tough situation. That will be in our mind and we'll give it a shot."
Imrul Kayes scored 32 while Mahmudullah made 28. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah (2-15) and fast bowler Junaid Khan (2-26) picked up two wickets each.
Pakistan rode three centuries to take command of the final test.
Azhar Ali was dismissed on 226 after his maiden double century helped the side pile up a big total. Veteran Younis Khan added 148 while Asad Shafiq made 107.
Azhar reached his double century by smashing a six off left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan. On his marathon 428-ball knock, he hit 20 fours and one more six.
Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan removed Misbah-ul-Haq on his overnight 9 in the second over of the day to give the hosts a perfect start, and provide encouragement that the pitch was starting to take early spin.
However the reduced Bangladesh attack — opening bowler Shahadat Hossain was injured on only the second ball of the match — was foiled by Asad Shafiq and Azhar.
Azhar shared a 207-run partnership with Asad, who brought up his sixth test century playing a fluent knock. Asad struck nine fours and one six in his 107 off 167.
"I think the partnership between me and Asad was really important and the way he scored his runs at quick pace was really important. It took the pressure off of me as well," Azhar said. "The icing on the cake was that we got five wickets which was very important in the test match."
Off-spinner Shuvagata Hom removed both of the batsmen in consecutive overs to stem Pakistan's run flow.
Bangladesh then dealt a double blow with Taijul Islam dismissing Wahab Riaz (4) and Yasir Shah (0) in the last over before the tea break.
Taijul Islam was the best of the bowlers with 3-179 from his 51 overs while Mohammad Shahid and Shuvagata took two wickets apiece.
Pakistan declared its innings after tea to give its bowlers ample time to bowl out the hosts and had immediate success as fast bowler Junaid Khan removed Tamim Iqbal, a double centurion in the previous test, on 4.
Junaid later got Mominul Haque (13), who tried to chase behind a delivery outside off-stump.
Wahab Riaz gave Junaid a hand, dismissing Mahmudullah, while Yasir Shah left Bangladesh in trouble by dismissing Imrul Kayes and Mushfiqur Rahim.