DHAKA — Self-inflicted wounds, including three run-outs, cost Bangladesh yesterday. The Asians managed a 14-run lead after bowling Zimbabwe out for 240.
The Zimbabwe openers survived the two overs that remained after Bangladesh was bowled out, leaving the Test match intriguingly poised going into the third day.
Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim made half-centuries and looked mostly untroubled by Zimbabwe’s bowlers, but none of them carried on to a more substantial score. This meant the lower order was at the crease when Zimbabwe took the second new ball and Bangladesh duly folded from 213 for six to 254 all out.
Tinashe Panyangara, who had dismissed the openers, bounced out Mushfiqur and hurtled through the lower order to finish with five wickets.
The pitch at the Shere Bangla National Stadium continued to offer turn and unpredictable bounce, but Zimbabwe’s two frontline spinners failed to exploit it, as combined figures of 36-6-116-1 would suggest.
They scarcely made a dent in the composure of Mominul, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur, who batted serenely to combine in partnerships of 63 and 64 for the third and fifth wickets.
But Bangladesh kept losing wickets against the run of play. Mahmudullah was lbw with tea looming, trying to lap-sweep the part-time offspinner Sikandar Raza. Before that, in the space of 27 balls either side of lunch, Mominul and Shakib Al Hasan were run out.
Mominul was caught short by a direct hit from Raza, but only because he failed to drag his bat over the crease. Shakib fell victim to poor communication from his partner Mahmudullah and to a glorious piece of athleticism from Tendai Chatara, who dived to collect a wayward throw and disturbed the bails with a back-hand flick, all in one swooping motion.
At that point, Bangladesh were four down and 126 behind. Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur steered them out of trouble, milking Zimbabwe’s inexperienced spinners and pouncing on the loose balls they served up.
Mushfiqur went after the offspinner Nyumbu, who only bowled three overs in the second session, slog-sweeping him for six and square-cutting him when he dragged one short and wide. Mahmudullah drove the legspinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi for successive fours through cover to bring up his half-century.
Kamungozi bowled quicker and flatter than his fellow debutant Jubair Hossain had done in Zimbabwe’s innings and struggled to hit a good length. On a couple of occasions when he did, he spun the ball sharply past the outside edge, but was often too short or too full.
Zimbabwe’s best bowlers were their fast bowlers, Chatara and Panyangara. Bangladesh had added only two runs to their overnight 27 for one when Shamsur Rahman spooned Panyangara straight to mid-off, off a delivery that seemed to stop on the batsman.
It wasn’t the first time that had happened on this pitch, but the dismissal wasn’t just about that one misbehaving ball. Shamsur had scored only one run off the previous 20 balls he had faced, and the sight, or illusion, of a driveable delivery caused him to snatch too eagerly at his shot.
At the other end, Chatara was keeping Mominul just as quiet. He bowled four overs in his first spell of the day, and each of them was a maiden. Mominul faced all 24 balls, nearly all of which were angled across him towards a fourth-stump line, and judged his responses impeccably, showing none of the vulnerability that afflicts most batsmen in that channel.