Bangladesh touring Zimbabwe played a one-off test match, Bangaladesh starting as favourites. Zimbabwe are back being a bit active with red ball cricket and recently had played Afghanistan.
Bangladesh win the toss and opt to bat. Pitch not quite spicy, an even deck to bat on and surely there’s something in for spinners a bit for pacers as well.
Not the start that Bangladesh would have wished for as their top order saw an early collapse, Muzarabani on top with two early scalps. Opener Islam and Mominul pulled back with a 60 run partnership that ends as Islam’s short stay ends on 23, Ngarava with the wicket this time and gets the breakthrough Zimbabwe were looking for. Middle order batters Rahim and Shakib fail to score and Liton Das meets the skipper in the middle, the duo spent in a few overs before Mominul makes his way back on a fine 70 and Liton Das is joined by Mahmudullah. An excellent partnership of 138 runs between the pair saw Zimbabwe frustrated and trying on a few options and change up that saw the wicket of well set Liton Das falling 5 short of a well deserving century. Mehidy Hasan walks back without disturbing the scorecard with a golden duck to his name. Taskin Ahmed the no 9 was very impressive as he scored 75 runs at quick pace, more importantly that innings helped Mahmudullah get to his century and laid a 191 run partnership that destroyed Zimbabwe’s hope. Taskin walks back on 75 and soon Mahmudullah reached his 150 and remained not out, an excellent knock especially at the time it has come, when it mattered the most. Massive total of 468 is what Bangladesh post and Muzarabani it was for Zimbabwe again who shines with 4 wickets to his name, couple each to Tiripano and Nyauchi.
Zimbabwe in reply get off to a good start and Shumbha on 41 was trapped leg before by Shakib and Bangladesh had their first at 61. Skipper Taylor joins Kaitano and put up a big partnership of 115 runs that saw opener Kaitano and skipper Taylor reach their 50’s, the big partnership was disturbed as Mehidy strikes Taylor on 81 off just 92, skipper walk back but that’s been a very impressive inning. Dion Myers joins well set Kaitano and the duo put up a short partnership of 49 runs that closed as Shakib dismisses Myers on 27. Middle, lower middle order and the tail don’t disturb the scoring a lot and all pressure was on the lone batter Kaitano who’s wonderful innings marked an end at 87 and it was Mehidy Hasan with the wicket. Wickets kept tumbling at an end but Chakabva managed to hang in and remained not out scoring valuable 31. A shocking collapse that included 4 ducks saw Zimbabwe close on 276. Spin twins Mehidy and Shakib shared 9 wickets in common with 5 and 4 respectively. Taskin the pacer with a wicket, with a good 192 run lead Bangladesh walk back to bat.
The top 3 who failed to score and make impact in the first innings flip things around this time. Openers Islam and Hassan both at good pace went on with thier business. Zimbabwe frustrated to make a comeback and were looking for a breakthrough which took a while to come and had arrived with partnership on 88, Hassan walked back with 43 to his name and it was Ngarava with the wicket. Shanto in the middle joins Islam and smash Zimbabwe’s comeback hopes. Shanto played a very aggressive knock, the duo reached personal milestones. Their fantastic innings and the brilliant 196 run partnership finally saw Bangladesh declare as Shanto walks back on an unbeaten 117 off 118 and Islam too remains unbeaten, walks back with an excellent 115 to his name. Just a wicket for Zimbabwe and they are pushed on the backfoot with a massive target of 476 to get for a win.
Zimbabwe for one final time in this test out to bat, opening this time doesn’t go good for Zimbabwe and an early wicket for Bangladesh gets their win percentage a hike. Taylor joins a very defensive Kaitano in the middle, there was a massive contrast between the duo as Taylor again at quick pace went on making big runs and departed on 92 off just 73 where as Kaitano departed with 7 to his name off 102 deliveries. Myers again with a few runs walks back and Tiripano adds a good 52 to the tally. No contributions from the lower middle order saw a collapse again and it was all bonus what the tail could add, the tail adds 50 runs and delay a certified win for Bangladesh. Late on day 5 Bangladesh get the win and ends as a big win of Bangladesh with 220 runs. Mehidy and Taskin bagged 8, with 4 each. A wicket each to both Shakib and Hossain.
With an impressive fighting knock under pressure Mahmudullah was awarded with the player of match and is also his final one in test cricket as he announced sudden retirement a day after scoring career best 150*. Zimbabwe were impressive and competitive but in short session or spells, they have again failed to dominate sessions or days of play that make them wait for a test win. Bangladesh will be very happy with their performances where nearly everyone who played had some success to talk.
Bangladesh will play 3 ODI’S and 3 T20I games before they leave Zimbabwe, would wish for few more wins. Zimbabwe would wish for a comeback in those 6 whiteball games scheduled starting on the 16th.