“Williams and Moor realized that the only way to survive the spells of the testing Bangladeshi spinners, on a slow, low and turning track, was by defending and attacking in tandem, with the shield made of grit and patience and the sword forged in the fire of courage and determination respectively.”
The visiting Zimbabwe side lasted for 117.3 overs, which amounts to a total of 705 deliveries, during the first innings of the first Test match of the series versus Bangladesh at Sylhet. Yet, all they could manage was a total of 282 runs at a meagre run rate of 2.41.
The total could have been even worse, especially, looking at the way Zimbabwe were first reduced to 85/3 and then to 129/4. Hamilton Masakadza had negotiated the Bangladeshi pacers well, with a score of 52 to his name. But once the spinners came on and started drying up the runs, he succumbed to the pressure and was dismissed lbw by pacer Abu Jayed.
His dismissal was the side effect of the quick departures of Brian Chari and Brendan Taylor, both of whom fell prey to left-arm orthodox bowler Taijul Islam. Sikander Raza also failed to deal with the left arm spin of Nazmul Islam and was dismissed soon after, leaving Zimbabwe tottering at 129/4.
The Bangladeshi spinners were on a role and the Zimbabwean batsmen had no clue how to tackle them. In these circumstances, they needed a saviour to bail them out of that situation. They needed to put on a decent total on board and their prayers were answered as they got not only one but two saviours in Sean Williams and Peter Moor.
They realized that the only way to survive the spells of the testing Bangladeshi spinners, on a slow, low and turning track, was by defending and attacking in tandem, with the shield made of grit and patience and the sword forged in the fire of courage and determination respectively.
The duo ended up scoring a total of 151 runs, which constituted 53.55 % of Zimbabwe’s total. Williams’ 88 came off 173 deliveries whereas Moor’s unbeaten 63 came off a total of 192 deliveries. Together, they faced 365 deliveries which in turn constituted 51.77% of the total deliveries that Zimbabwe lasted for.
Their partnership might have contributed only 72 runs to the total but they occupied more than 30 overs at the crease. During their stand, they showed their teammates the template they should follow while playing the spinners—defend the good deliveries patiently and wait for the bad deliveries to score runs. Although scarce, they hardly let any of the bad deliveries go.
Both batsmen played some nice drives through the covers to the over-pitched deliveries. Moor didn’t get enough of short pitch stuff but Williams latched on to everything he got. He didn’t shy away from playing his signature cuts in front of the square boundary.
When the Bangladeshi spinners tried to strangle them with disciplined line and lengths, Williams wasn’t afraid to break the shackles with some nicely timed sweep shots.
As Williams adopted the more attacking approach at one end, Moor stood like a firm rock at the other end, and thus frustrated the Bangladeshi bowlers in the process. While Williams scored at an overall strike rate of 50.87 during his innings, Moor’s scoring rate of 32.81 summed up his determined approach.
Moor’s shield appeared to be impenetrable but Bangladesh found a way to get the better of Williams’ lapse in concentration on his individual score of 88. The southpaw ended up edging a nicely tossed up delivery from Mahmudullah Riyad, which was caught brilliantly by Mehedi Hasan at first slip.
His dismissal showed exactly what not to do against these Bangladeshi spinners. Something he had stopped himself from doing throughout his innings. A century was there for the taking for Williams but one moment of foolishness had denied him the opportunity.
Moor carried on but fell short of partners. Although Regis Chakabva did well to stitch a 60-run stand with him for the sixth wicket, with an individual contribution of 29 runs, Zimbabwe lost their last four wickets for just 21 runs. Moor remained stranded at one end on a score of 63 runs, screaming out loud that the next time they walk out to bat, each and every batsman should try to bat the way he and Williams did.
The duo have now set the template that Zimbabwe should follow for the rest of the series. Now, it remains to be seen if the other batsmen are good enough to learn an implement it in the coming time ahead.