Heading into this Test, if you were going to back either side to collapse for less than 150 in both innings then you would have gone for Zimbabwe. However, thanks to their captain Brendan Taylor, they have instead posted two good totals and then watched as the tourists imploded twice in less than 55 overs.
This afternoon, Bangladesh managed 13 more than they did in their first innings, but still found themselves the vanquished team by a margin of 335 runs.
Kyle Jarvis and Shingi Masakadza started the rot by removing the top-order, with leg-spinner Graeme Cremer then making a contribution to a match that has been unexpectedly dominated by seam, taking four for four off little more than five overs.
Earlier in the day, Taylor had become only the third Zimbabwean to register a century in each innings of a Test match and the first to do so as captain.
Taylor followed in the footsteps of the Flower brothers in reaching three figures for the second time in the same match when he cut the 19th ball of the day past point. Immediately, he declared his side’s second innings closed with the score on 227 for seven and the lead at 482.
Bangladesh entered the run chase knowing that if they were to succeed then they would have to break a world record. They began well as Shahriar Nafees took the attack to the Zimbabwe opening pair of Kyle Jarvis and Keegan Meth. He had reached 11 when he went for one shot too many off Jarvis and played a loose drive that resulted in him losing his off-stump.
There followed a steady procession of wickets either side lunch. Jahurul Islam was sent packing just prior to the break for 22 by umpire Tony Hill, who adjudged him caught behind even though the ball looked to have flicked his shirt. If that dismissal was unlucky, then Mahmudullah’s after the resumption was pure brainless. With a deep square-leg posted, he went for an ambitious pull-shot that found the fielder and had to drag himself off having scored 21.
The Bangladesh engine room of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim then failed to get out of single figures to make it 85 for five, with Mohammad Ashraful’s relatively long vigil coming to an end on the stroke of tea. He had reached 40 before being comically run out. Cremer got a ball to beat his outside edge and the outstretched hand of wicket-keeper Richmond Mutumbami and Ashraful set off for a bye. Unbeknown to him, Taylor had fielded the ball at slip and was alert enough to lob it to Mutumbami who whipped off the bails with Ashraful out of his ground.
The tourists’ resistance didn’t last long after tea as Cremer bowled the last recognised batsman Nasir Hossain and then mopped up the tail to end with four of the cheapest Test wickets it is possible to gain.
And so, Zimbabwe earnt their first win in almost two years in Test cricket and proved that often it is playing at home that matters most. Bangladesh didn’t have conditions entirely against them, with the pitch turning appreciably from day three onwards, but their batting, after showing so much promise in Sri Lanka, let them down badly.
In truth, Taylor was the only batsman to master the pitch, which was a little slow and two-paced. He scored 273 runs in the match - almost as many as all of Bangladesh’s batsmen managed in both innings combined. Any doubts about his batting that surfaced after the dismal tour of the West Indies have now been laid firmly to rest.
© Cricket World 2013
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