HomeSportCricketBangladesh target historic 3-0 sweep over Zimbabwe

Bangladesh target historic 3-0 sweep over Zimbabwe


CHITTAGONG — Bangladesh have a rare opportunity in Chittagong to answer some of the most commonly-asked questions fired in their direction.

Can they maintain their form and consistency? Do they have it in them to sweep the series 3-0? And having already secured the series, how will they react as a unit in the final game?

These are scenarios completely new to the hosts, so the fans will be eagerly awaiting the team’s response in the third Test.

But what would truly excite the Chittagong is the prospect of yet another all-round show from Shakib Al Hasan and their hometown hero Tamim Iqbal back in form.

Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan

By becoming only the third player after Ian Botham and Imran Khan to score a 100 and take 10 wickets in the same Test, Shakib has regained his exalted position in the country and will be feted duly at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium where large crowds are expected.

The fans will also get to see first-hand Bangladesh’s new-look spin attack, which has caused Zimbabwe a lot of misery. The visitors, as a result, have a lot more to think about, including learning to negotiate the spin.

While Zimbabwe has shown promise, it has been only in spurts and has come and gone quickly in their second innings in both Dhaka and Khulna.

Those two implosions cost them the series, but Zimbabwe will still want to give a strong display of their Test credentials.

Hamilton Masakadza has been the only player confident against spin and so Zimbabwe would hope for the likes of captain Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine, who is making a comeback to the team, to offer more resistance.

Brendan Taylor
Brendan Taylor

The turning ball is likely to be the most talked about topic in this Test as well, although the Chittagong pitch will be stacked heavily against pace and spin.

Watch out for
Runs flowed by Masakadza in the second Test, as he collected his fourth 100 and followed it up with a half-century. Zimbabwe is likely to bank heavily on his brute strength and assuredness against spin.

Shakib Al Hasan has elevated himself to the top of the Test all-rounder rankings once again and with one game remaining, he would look to secure a man-of-the-series award for the third time in his career.

Team news
Imrul Kayes has replaced Shamsur Rahman and quick bowler Shahadat Hossain is set to be rested, with Shafiul Islam likely to replace him. With Shuvagata Hom batting usefully in the second innings in Khulna, he could hold on to his No 7 position as the batting allrounder, keeping Anamul Haque benched.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Shuvagata Hom, 8 Jubair Hossain, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Taijul Islam
Zimbabwe are expected to field the same team, with Natsai M’shangwe keeping his place as the specialist spinner after taking a four-for in the second innings in Khulna.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Sikandar Raza, 2 Brian Chari, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt), 5 Regis Chakabva (wk), 6 Craig Ervine, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Malcolm Waller, 9 Tinashe Panyangara, 10 Natsai M’shangwe, 11 Tendai Chatara

Pitch and conditions
The Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium has possibly the best batting pitch in Bangladesh. The last two Tests here have been draws, with Kumar Sangakkara even scoring a triple-century in January. Teams batting last should be prepared for a slowness, though bounce could be favourable to batsmen throughout the game.

Stats and trivia
Regis Chakabva became only the third Zimbabwe wicketkeeper to score a Test 100 after Andy Flower and Tatenda Taibu. His century was also the first by a Zimbabwean wicketkeeper in nine years.

Tamim Iqbal made his first Test century in more than four years. He is now in second position among Test centurions for Bangladesh, with five 100s. Mohammad Ashraful leads the list with six.

“It is a rare feeling to be playing with 2-0 up in a Test series. But in reality, this will be our toughest Test.” — Mushfiqur Rahim

“The toss will be crucial, you don’t want to be batting on day five in these conditions. But that’s out of our control. We just have to play each day take it as it comes and play as best as we can.” — Brendan Taylor

— Cricinfo

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