Taylor was unbeaten with 105 when he issued what was widely regarded as an enterprising decision, to leave Bangladesh to score 375 in four sessions for victory. By the close of the fourth day they had lost three top wickets for 112 runs, with a mountain to climb on the morrow.
The match was in the balance when play began, as Zimbabwe had lost four wickets for 92 runs overnight in their second innings and an early breakthrough by Bangladesh would put them right back in the game. Taylor and Tatenda Taibu did begin with great caution for three or four overs, but soon found there were no terrors in the Bangladeshi bowling. They started to push the score along, adding 28 in the first half-hour. By the time of morning drinks, 150 was on the board. Taylor was at first the more aggressive of the two, but once Taibu was well settled he stepped up his rate and overtook Taylor when the latter was on 40. He reached his fifty off 98 balls and then, with lunch still more than twenty minutes away, both batsmen became strangely becalmed, running the risk of losing the initiative. They could have done a little better than scoring 96 in the morning session, especially when no wicket fell. Some of the Bangladeshi tactics were questionable, as for example when they bowled two left-arm spinners in tandem for quite a while.
17 minutes after lunch Taylor reached his fifty off 117 balls, but then lost Taibu for 59; he drove a catch straight at extra cover, off Shafiul Islam, and the invaluable partnership of 113 came to an end. The total was 205 for five as Craig Ervine came in. The left-hander has not been in his best form recently, but the selectors retained confidence in him and this time he played well. Half an hour from tea Taylor was still in the low seventies and was missed off a difficult return chance, but he now speeded up significantly, moving smoothly through the eighties and nineties. Finally a fine sweep to the boundary off Abdur Razzak brought him to three figures and the rare feat of scoring his maiden Test century in his first Test match as captain. Dave Houghton accomplished the same feat in Zimbabwe’s inaugural Test match in 1992, going one better in that it was also his Test debut.
Taylor’s second fifty took him only 53 balls and he hit nine fours. At tea he had 105, Ervine had 35 and the declaration came. Bangladesh were thus set four sessions in which to score 375 to win. One school of thought would have favoured some aggressive batting after tea and a decision after about half an hour with a lead of well over 400; if Zimbabwe could not bowl out Bangladesh in that time, it would be their own fault. There was also to consider the volatile, unpredictable nature of the Bangladeshi batting; unlikely though it would appear, it was not impossible that one of their batsmen could throw restraints to the winds and play the innings of a lifetime. The declaration did leave this possibility open. Others praised it as a positive, attacking move not all that common in Test cricket.
Tamim Iqbal soon showed that he has the potential to worry Zimbabwe, lashing two fours off Brian Vitori in the first over, and another two in Vitori’s next. Boundaries continued to flow and 50 came up in the ninth over, Tamim having 36 of them. The bowlers and the field began to tighten up, though, slowing him down, and when he had 43 (44 balls) out of 65 he strangely decided to shoulder arms and pad up to a ball from Chris Mpofu, bowling from wide in the crease, that jagged back in a long way, somehow evaded the pad and hit the off stump. Zimbabwe were jubilant, recognizing that this was their biggest threat out of the way.
His partner, Imrul Kayes, had played second fiddle but not neglected to hit the bad ball. He had scored 31 when he pushed outside the off stump to a ball moving away from him, edged to the keeper and Kyle Jarvis picked up his first Test wicket; 87 for two. Shahriar Nafees did not attempt his explosive batting at the start of his first innings, making a cautious 9 off 37 balls before Jarvis burst a ball through his defences to uproot his leg stump; 102 for three. Shakib Al Hasan kept himself in reserve for the final day; Bangladesh are not yet in a hopeless position, and Mohammad Ashraful is still at the crease, but it will take some remarkable performances to win this match which they had started as favourites. For Zimbabwe, victory would be a wonderful stimulus to a game struggling to return to the world stage.