Second Test Match, at Harare Sports Club, Day 2
Overnight: Bangladesh 391; Zimbabwe 158/4.
Zimbabwe had another disappointing day at Harare Sports Club today, as Bangladesh almost reached a total of 400, and then put the home side under pressure to save the possibility of having to follow on. Zimbabwe’s top-order batting failed again and this time Brendan Taylor was out for 36, but before the close a positive partnership between Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura took Zimbabwe to 158 for four, 34 runs short of saving the follow-on with six wickets left.
Bangladesh made a positive start from their overnight score of 300 for six wickets, but soon lost Zaiur Rahman, lbw for 14 to an inswinger from Keegan Meth. Then came a valuable 51-run stand between Nasir Hossain, who has been gaining a reputation for reliability at number seven, and Sohag Gazi. As the partnership grew the bowling looked quite innocuous, but eventually Graeme Cremer dismissed both in quick succession, Gazi (21) mowing a catch to mid-on, while Hossain (77) was bowled behind his legs by a sharp spinner. Bangladesh were 367 for nine.
The last man Robiul Islam came out hitting, and Cremer suffered the embarrassment of being hammered for 17 in an over, including two successive sixes, although he may have been lucky to survive an lbw appeal. Robiul finished with 24 not out off 18 balls when the innings closed for 391. Chigumbura took three for 75 and Meth two for 41 off 22 economical overs, but Jarvis and Cremer were very expensive, both going for more than 100 runs each at more than four an over. Taylor showed little imagination in his bowling changes – or lack of changes – and Shingi Masakadza, who was more impressive than Jarvis on the first day, was not given an over on the second.
This left Zimbabwe with one uncomfortable over to face before lunch, but survived with a single on the board. Robiul and the left-arm Sajidul Islam both had the Zimbabwean openers in some trouble with their swing after the interval, and Regis Chakabva survived a difficult chance to the keeper on 6. Just as they were looking more settled Chakabva, perhaps unluckily, was given out caught at the wicket off Robiul for 12, a decision he was not happy with. Zimbabwe were 23 for one, and then 26 for two as Vusi Sibanda followed in exactly the same way, adjudged caught at the wicket off the same bowler by the same umpire, Tony Hill, for 10. The camera seemed to show Chakabva was unlucky in his dismissal, but suggested Sibanda’s may have been a genuine dismissal. There is no third-umpire referral in this series.
The dangerous Robiul bowled eleven overs in this spell, taking two for 16 before being rested, and then immediately his replacement, Shakib Al Hasan, bowled out Hamilton Masakadza for 14 with a straight ball sliding through, another weak dismissal for the man who should be Zimbabwe’s best batsman. Taylor was in with him, but struggling, and Zimbabwe were in real trouble at tea with their score 47 for three.
Afterwards Taylor and Malcolm Waller dug in grimly, scoring at a rate of below two runs an over, while Bangladesh looked set to bowl Robiul into the ground in their effort to break through. The batsmen were just starting to push the score along more rapidly and confidently when Taylor, on 36, clipped a ball from Sohag Gazi straight to deep midwicket, ending a partnership of 52 in 22 overs, and Zimbabwe were back in trouble again.
Chigumbura decided to take the initiative immediately on his arrival at the crease, attacking the spinners and racing to 13 off nine balls. The runs continued to come despite the fading light, Bangladesh like Zimbabwe having bowled their overs at a very poor rate. Chigumbura continued to attack, although in the penultimate over he just escaped being caught from a mistimed hit over the covers. He finished the day unbeaten on 45, with Waller on 30; they have added 61 so far in a spirited stand, but the bottom line is that Bangladesh are still on top in this match.