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Zimbabwe hit by Shakib

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Zimbabwe 53 for 1 trail Bangladesh 433 (Shakib 137, Tamim 109) by 380 runs

Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal

KHULNA — A nuggety Tamim Iqbal century was complemented by a stroke-filled one from Shakib Al Hasan as Bangladesh cashed in on the painstaking foundation they had laid in Khulna to make 433 on the second day yesterday.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers struggled to reprise the discipline they had shown on the opening day. The pitch had nothing for them and the onus is now on their batsmen to combat an immense amount of scoreboard pressure.

Hamilton Masakadza and debutante opener Brian Chari had to face variation in bounce and the odd ball turning, but were able to take their side to stumps with one batsman down.

Taijul Islam, fresh from an eight-wicket haul, was handed the new ball and derived just enough turn to make the arm ball a threat. One of those sliders thudded into Sikandar Raza’s pads.

shakib-al-hasan
shakib-al-hasan

It had looked very marginal and the batsman had a right to opt for a review. However, the original call of umpire Billy Bowden was upheld when HawkEye revealed the ball would have tickled leg stump.

The visitors’ best period of play was when they strung a 10-over spell after lunch that produced only six runs and a wicket.

Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara whittled down the percentage of loose balls. A tight ring of fielders on either side of the batsman limited the chances of rotating the strike. Shakib attempted to take one of them only for Raza to swoop in from cover and run Mushfiqur Rahim out.

The Bangladesh captain had raced to 11 off 5 balls before lunch, but could not find a run in the next 31 balls before he was caught short of his ground.

Zimbabwe would have been desperate to extend that stranglehold. Especially with Shakib looking rather anxious. He had been the primary reason for Bangladesh whisking 123 runs in the first 30 overs of the day. But stuck in the 90s, he preferred caution.

Perhaps excessively so, but his last century was in 2011.

He did not want that drought to stretch.

An on-drive off Panyangara took him to the landmark, after which Bangladesh refused to be bogged down. The three overs after drinks in the post-lunch session were carted for 26 runs.

Tired bowlers, a helpless pitch and the total ballooning towards 400 meant Shakib becoming Malcolm Waller’s maiden Test wicket barely made a dent. The tail came in with a free licence, which Taijul Islam used as he survived a chance and demoralised Zimbabwe further during a 43-run eighth wicket stand with Shahadat Hossain.

There were barely any chances in the morning though and when the breakthrough did come — a mistimed drive from Tamim found gully with lunch only 2.3 overs away to end a 132-run stand — Zimbabwe would have felt relieved more than anything.

Their bowlers had been able to strangle Bangladesh on the first day, so much that Elton Chigumbura believed honours had been even.

There had only been 18 fours yesterday, one session’s play yesterday produced 13, and three sixes. It was almost as if Bangladesh were telling the opposition they could have upped the ante any time they wished, but had chosen not to.

Brendan Taylor saw nothing in the pitch to encourage the seamers. He resorted to the part-time spinners to lull a mistake out of the batsmen. Bangladesh did display a greater inclination to hit out and enjoyed success quite regularly.

Shakib welcomed Waller by running at him and depositing him over long-on. He had realised a softer ball would not afford much spin and used his swift and decisive footwork to unsettle them.

M’shangwe’s legbreaks finally made an appearance after 17 overs of play. He had better control of his flight later in the day and picked up the final Bangladesh wicket with a googly.

But M’shangwe had begun his second over of the morning with a loopy full toss that Shakib tonked to the midwicket boundary.

Two balls later, Tamim nailed a drive wide of long-on to savour his first Test century in four years and acknowledged the landmark with a broad smile while his team-mates leapt to their feet. Mushfiqur was seen pumping his fists. Those smiles are likely to gotten broader at stumps.

— Cricinfo

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