Zimbabwe 158 for 4 (Chigumbura 45*, Robiul 2-34) trail Bangladesh 391 (Shakib 81, Nasir 77, Mushfiqur 60, Chigumbura 3-75) by 233 runs
A MID-AFTERNOON spell from Robiul Islam swung the second and final Test Bangladesh’s way in Harare on Friday. The fast bowler troubled Zimbabwe considerably, but the visitors would have liked a few more wickets in the final session after the home side ended the second day on 158 for 4.
The game is increasingly becoming an engrossing contest, especially after the 61-run unbeaten fifth-wicket stand between Elton Chigumbura, who remained at the crease on 45, accompanied by Malcolm Waller, who was not out on 30. They forced the pace, after being held back considerably by Bangladesh’s main bowler.
Robiul’s first spell of 11 overs cost just 16 runs as he racked up six maidens. The reward was two wickets during that middle session, from which Zimbabwe haven’t quite recovered. His two subsequent spells were disciplined, too, and it helped the other bowlers to merely keep to their task rather than bring out anything extraordinary. The day was always going to be Robiul’s.
His work on the second day began with the bat in hand. Towards the end of the Bangladesh innings, he blasted two fours and two sixes in his 18-ball 24. He took 17 runs off a Graeme Cremer over as Zimbabwe struggled to close Bangladesh out. When he had the ball in hand, Robiul was in the zone.
He tested Regis Chakabva with his good length deliveries, pitching and moving away on most occasions. The odd delivery every over went straight on as both Chakabva and Vusi Sibanda hardly made an impression on the bowling. Chakabva was dropped on 6 by a diving captain Mushfiqur Rahim behind the wicket off Robiul. But he fell in the same bowler’s next over. The ball didn’t appear to take the edge, but the umpire adjudged him caught behind. Sibanda fell in Robiul’s following over, his edge to the wicketkeeper thin but audible.
Robiul then had a battle to remember with Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor, the best batsman on show this series. He first bowled very full and straight, before resorting to the shorter deliveries. In the 17th over alone, he had Taylor gloving a bouncer awkwardly before edging a good-length ball short of first slip. Taylor played 34 deliveries from Robiul, scoring only six runs. Mushfiqur posted a third man to cut out Taylor’s ramp shot against the short ball but Robiul probably overdid the short stuff.Advertisement
Hamilton Masakadza fell to a Shakib Al Hasan delivery that didn’t turn. It was the left-arm spinner’s fourth ball in the game, and put the home side deeper into trouble at 45 for 3.
Taylor battled on after tea, opening up on more than one occasion during his partnership with Waller. They added 52 before the Zimbabwe captain holed out to deep square leg off Sohag Gazi.
Afterwards and till stumps, Waller and Chigumbura forced the issue with regular change of strike and boundaries which flowed more as the visitors tried to eke out a wicket in the last hour.
Earlier, Nasir helped Bangladesh add a further 91. He made 77 off 103, leading two important partnerships after the dismissal of the top six batsmen. He added 33 for the seventh wicket with Ziaur Rahman, before putting together 51 for the eight wicket with Gazi.
Nasir hit eleven boundaries, and his positive approach against the second new ball should encourage the other batsmen to not throw it away after getting a start. Nasir began slowly, but didn’t let go of any opportunity to find the boundary until he was bowled around his legs by Cremer, becoming the ninth batsman out for 367. Robiul’s hitting stretched the score to 391, and his bowling made sure Zimbabwe would have a hard time getting anywhere close.