Bangladesh 433 and 201 for 5 (Mahmudullah 63*, Mominul 54, Waller 4-48) lead Zimbabwe 368 (Masakadza 158, Chakabva 101, Shakib 5-80) by 266 runs
KHULNA — On Wednesday, Shakib Al Hasan had laid down a difficult blueprint for Bangladesh, if they were to force a win in Khulna: Get five wickets in an hour, score quick runs, then take the 10 Zimbabwe wickets quickly.
Yesterday, he did not veer too far from his plans in the first hour, striking early and registering his 13th five-wicket haul, but then Bangladesh were made to wait by Regis Chakabva’s maiden Test century.
The Bangladesh innings, despite the middle-order wobble and lack of energy, was not too far off either from the second objective of Shakib’s plan: To set a target and leave their bowlers with enough time to take ten Zimbabwe wickets.
They seesawed from periods of slow-scoring to high-scoring, from partnerships to quick losses, but by the end of the day, they had a healthy lead of 266.
With the pitch demons showing signs of waking up, Bangladesh will already be comfortable with what they have.
Tamim Iqbal made an encouraging start, lacing four boundaries before being brilliantly caught and bowled by Tinashe Panyangara. But the innings went into a depression thereafter.
Mominul Haque had opened his account with a supremely-timed wristy drive through midwicket before going into a shell during a 47-run stand with Shamsur Rahman, who scored a painstaking 71-ball 23. The two had, however, ensured the overall lead at tea was 144.
In the last session, Mominul showed urgency from the start and runs came quickly. With Brendan Taylor hoping to cut down the boundaries with fielders in the deep, there were plenty of easy singles.
Both Mominul and Mahmudullah found the odd boundary as well to keep growing the lead. From 15 runs off 47 balls, Mominul raised the tempo to reach his 50 off 88 balls.
It was his seventh Test fifty, but just like the first Test, he wasn’t able to build on it, falling for 54 to a bat-pad catch to a Malcolm Waller delivery.
Waller, who had dismissed Shamsur earlier, jolted Bangladesh with the wickets of Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim off consecutive balls. But the stylish Mahmudullah found support in Shuvagata Hom.
Mahmudullah was solid in defence and severe on anything loose. He started slowly, scoring 13 runs off 34 balls before hitting his first boundary, but picked up the gaps from time to time thereafter.
He reached his third half-century of the series off 104 balls with a neat push down the ground. By the end of the day, his partnership with Hom had swelled to 56.
Zimbabwe’s hopes of minimising the first-innings lead had depended on the overnight pair of Hamilton Masakadza and Chakabva. But Shakib got a lucky break, getting one to stay extremely low on Masakadza and hitting the middle stump. Masakadza could only add four to his overnight score.
Shakib struck again to get Waller, who had been dropped on 0 and 1, caught behind with one that spun away.
Rubel Hossain was rewarded for his perseverance in the morning and he picked up the wickets of Tendai Chatara and Natsai M’shangwe in the same over.
Chakabva was on 85 when Zimbabwe lost their ninth wicket, but with Mushfiqur offering him singles on the fifth and sixth balls of the over, he managed to farm the strike comfortably.
He reached his century in the 134th over, exactly 10 overs after last man Panyangara had joined him. He was the last batsman to be dismissed but by that time Zimbabwe had reduced the deficit to 65.
Chakabva’s last-wicket partnership ate up almost an hour and added some useful runs. Zimbabwe will need a similar effort from their batsmen in the second innings if they are to save this match.