Zimbabwe 217-4 (Taylor 105no, Waller 55) v
First Test, Harare, day one
Brendan Taylor led Zimbabwe to a promising position at stumps on an attritional opening day of the opening Test against Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club.
Taylor’s third Test century allowed the home side to end on 217 for four after they had struggled to 65 for three in almost 40 overs during the first half of the day.
The pitch, as expected, was on the slow side and Bangladesh’s seam bowlers were, for once, disciplined in their lines and lengths.
They found enough help with the new ball to cause the openers, Timycen Maruma and Vusi Sibanda, problems. However, as the day wore on, the bowlers tired and Taylor and Malcolm Waller shared a fourth-wicket stand of 127 and increased the scoring rate.
The Zimbabwe batsmen were helped by several dropped catches from the Bangladeshi fielders throughout the day, with Shahriar Nafees perhaps the chief culprit. He had dropped debutant Maruma early on but, more importantly, shelled a difficult chance off Taylor at long-off when he was well set.
Zimbabwe had begun the day by fielding three debutants, because of a mixture of injuries and contract disputes. Southern Rocks gloveman Richmond Mutumbami replaced the injured Regis Chakabva behind the stumps, with Maruma replacing Tino Mawoyo and Keegan Meth playing instead of Chris Mpofu. Elton Chigumbura was recalled to the middle-order in place of Craig Ervine.
They lost the toss and were inserted and struggled immediately. Sibanda and Maruma had added 10 in eight overs before their resistance was ended with a well-directed yorker from Robiul Islam that felled Sibanda.
Maruma’s debut innings was also brought to a close by Robiul, at 10 off 46 balls. At lunch, the home side had limped to 50 for two and were going nowhere.
Hamilton Masakadza departed soon after the break, caught at slip off Enamul Haque junior, to put Zimbabwe in trouble. However, Taylor and Waller were on hand to take advantage of some tiring bowlers and some occasionally slapdash fielding.
The second session added 71 runs for the loss of Masakadza, with the evening session the most productive of the lot, yielding 96 runs for the loss of Waller for 55. Taylor’s first fifty took 123 balls, with the second taking just 77.
Bangladesh’s woes were compounded late on when Elton Chigumbura was bowled off a no-ball and they will be left wondering just how they let such a dominant position slip.
Zimbabwe will just be pleased to have batted for an entire day for the first time in an awfully long while, with new caretaker coach Stephen Mangongo must surely be satisfied with his first day in charge.
© Cricket World 2013
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