Zimbabwe pacemen rattle Bangladesh as Test gets underway
Bangladesh – 294-8 in 83 overs (Liton Das 95, Mominul Haque 70, Mahmudullah 54*; Blessing Muzarabani 3/48, Donald Tiripano 2/36, Victor Nyauchi 2/69)
Day 1 – Stumps
Blessing Muzarabani struck gold for Zimbabwe with his superb new-ball bowling on the first day of the one-off Ispahani Test match, powered by Toffee, against Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club today.
He took two wickets in the first five overs of play to give the hosts an early breakthrough, which led to a score at one stage of 132 for six wickets.
Unfortunately after that Zimbabwe were unable to press home an advantage, as Bangladesh were rescued by a fine partnership between Liton Das and Mahmudullah.
Das missed a century by five runs and the day finished with the tourists on 294 for eight wickets.
Zimbabwe gave debuts to Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Dion Myers.
Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat.
The opening bowling from Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava gave Zimbabwe early hope on a pitch that gave them some early life and movement.
Muzarabani’s fast first delivery rose sharply and tested Saif Hassan, before his fifth ball moved back in off the pitch and bowled him off stump, the only score on the board being four byes.
Ngarava also rose to the occasion and gave the other opener, Shadman Islam, a hard time in keeping his wicket intact.
Muzarabani struck again in his third over, as he moved a ball away on the off stump and the number three, Najmul Hossain Shanto (2), edged the delivery for a catch to Myers in the gully.
Bangladesh were eight for two wickets and Zimbabwe’s pace bowlers had given the team a sensational start after losing the toss.
Islam stayed in with grim defence, but the experienced Mominul Haque began to stabilise the innings, waiting for the loose balls and hitting them well.
After an hour or so, Islam began to open up, though he enjoyed some lucky edges, and Donald Tiripano and Victor Nyauchi were unable to sustain the pressure all the time, with the early life in the pitch having gone.
However, just as the partnership was looking settled, Ngarava broke through, as Islam (23) played a hesitant shot and edged a good ball to Brendan Taylor at first slip; 68 for three.
At lunch the score had moved to 70 for three, with Haque on 32 and the next man, Mushfiqur Rahim, on one.
After lunch Muzarabani returned for a second spell, but Haque quickly ran to his fifty off 64 balls.
Just after that, though, he popped up a slower ball towards mid-on, but Ngarava apparently lost sight of it and was unable to get forward to the chance in time.
However, Muzarabani did break through as he moved a ball in to Rahim on 11, to which the batsman offered no stroke and was given out lbw; 106 for four.
Shakib Al Hasan, in next, did not last long, as he groped at a ball from Nyauchi outside his off stump and edged a catch to the keeper.
He was out for three, at 109 for five, and walked off without waiting for the umpire’s decision, a rare and sporting action in modern cricket.
Haque had another life on 60, as he pushed a chance back to Muzarabani, but the bowler failed to hold it.
Haque seemed to be celebrating with two fours off Nyauchi, but then he cut the last ball of the over, none too hard, straight to gully, where Myers took another catch.
He had made 70 off 92 balls, with 13 fours, more than half his team’s score at this stage, for as he left the field the scoreboard read 132 for six wickets.
Das had announced his presence at the crease with two handsome boundaries through the covers, and he now settled down in partnership with Mahmudullah to rescue the innings.
They both found some easy boundaries as the bowlers could not maintain the pressure and by tea they had taken the score to 167 for six wickets, with Das on 26 and Mahmudullah 14.
Das opened out after the interval, taking the attack to the bowlers, and a slog-sweep off Milton Shumba took him to his fifty, off 86 balls, and also brought up the Bangladesh 200.
Then the century partnership was reached.
The pair more than doubled the score and Das was on the verge of a maiden Test century when he pulled a ball from Tiripano, only for Nyauchi to pick up a fine low catch near the fine-leg boundary.
Das made a very impressive 95, off 147 balls with 13 fours, and the score was now 270 for seven.
Tiripano’s next delivery was full and straight, and trapped the new batsman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, lbw first ball.
Not long afterwards the second new ball finally became due and in Muzarabani’s first over with it, an inside edge for four brought Mahmudullah a well-deserved fifty off 133 balls.
After three overs with the new ball the umpires offered the light to the batsmen, who decided to go off with the score on 294 for eight wickets, ending play for the day.
Mahmudullah had 54 and Taskin Ahmed 13.