After two days of attritional run-scoring, the third Test sparked into life amid a flurry of wickets on day three in Harare. Zimbabwe dismantled the Bangladesh first innings for just 134 - including taking the last five wickets without the addition of a run - and then turned their attention towards building upon their 255-run advantage. However, they suffered a batting implosion of their own and it was left to first innings record-breaker Brendan Taylor to take the lead into the realms of the insurmountable.
Taylor ended on 81 not out and again found better-than-adequate support from Graeme Cremer to help the hosts recover from 84 for six. Robiul Islam took all of the first six wickets to fall and, in doing so, became the first Bangladesh seamer in almost three years to take five wickets in an innings.
In all on day three, 16 wickets fell for the addition of 226 runs due to a combination of exemplary seam bowling and slapdash strokeplay.
The first to fall was Jahurul Islam, trapped leg-before by a Keegan Meth in-ducker, as Bangladesh lost their last nine wickets for 32 runs. Only Mohammad Ashraful reached double figures for the day, with his dismissal preceding a collapse of virtually unrivalled proportions.
The last ball of the 51st over saw skipper Mushfiqur Rahim accounted for by Masakadza, with Nasir Hossain caught behind in the next over off Kyle Jarvis and Enamul Haque junior sent packing two balls later. Rubel Hossain and Sohag Gazi completed the rout as the last four Bangladesh batsmen failed to score and Jarvis and Masakadza ended with four wickets apiece.
The wickets continued to tumble in the Zimbabwe second innings as Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza were both removed by Robiul with the total still in single figures.
And so Robiul continued and it was soon 27 for four, with Elton Chigumbura providing the briefest of respites with 27 before edging to Jahurul in the gully. The very next ball Richmond Mutumbami completed a miserable debut with the bat to make it 84 for six and cap a passage of play that had seen 16 wickets fall for 116 runs.
Taylor and Cremer then combined as they had in the first innings. Then they had added 106 for the seventh-wicket with Cremer making 42, whereas here he made 43 of a stand worth 79.
A mix-up finally had him walking back as he and Taylor tried to take advantage of a misfield to steal a single but by then the damage had been done. Shortly afterwards, stumps were pulled with the home side 442 runs ahead and knowing that a rate of wicket-taking anything like today’s will hand them victory in a Test match for the first time in nearly two years tomorrow.
© Cricket World 2013
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