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Zimbabwe seamers made the best use of the condition in Sylhet, which has left Bangladesh think tank pondering of playing just one seamer…..

When commentator Ed Rainsford was doing the pitch report on first day, he termed the Sylhet deck as dry with an evidence of cracks in it. Also, there were dark patches on the track, which hinted about the presence of moisture. At this time of the year, such moistures don’t dry away so easily but tend to assist the seamers in major parts of the day.

Ideally, any team would back the inclusion of at least two seamers in the side. But Bangladesh emphasized on picking up just one.

Bangladesh bowled first and the fourth ball of Abu Jayed curled like hell indicating how much juice the track had for the seamers. Jayed discovered Taijul Islam as his partner with the new ball at the other end – a familiar scenario, which has been a ploy to achieve success in the last three years.

Well, at times, such a ploy does not work in all conditions. Moreover, playing against teams like Zimbabwe unleashes the opportunity to play with at least three seamers. Bangladesh’s main strength is the spinners, but at the other hand, Bangladesh think tank must encourage the development of pacers as well. Overemphasizing on just one sector tends to halt the growth of others.

Sadly, neither Taijul found any turn nor bounce on the deck with the new cherry, but the deck demanded yet another seamer.

Taijul picked up wickets, but it was not about the assistance from deck. Taijul’s first three wickets were an amalgamation of sloppy batting and a slice of luck. While the rest three wickets were the tail-enders, who hardly posed a threat. Zimbabwe’s fifth and sixth wicket pairs stabilized the proceedings. Peter Moor, Regis Chakabva and Sean Williams’ defiant resistance frustrated Bangladesh, who searched for wickets.

Also read: Sean Williams and Peter Moor show Zimbabwe the template for tackling spin in Bangladesh

Mahmudullah Riayd, the stand-in captain, brought on Jayed as he noticed a grey sky above midway through the post-lunch session. Jayed bowled aggressively and moved the cherry. He created pressure, but the use of a spinner at the other end did not work well. The home team needed the services of another pacer. Image two seamers operating with the new ball and then, doing the same under the grey sky against Zimbabwe’s resistance – one thing can be said with confidence, the Zimbabwean resistance might not have lasted longer.

Well, Bangladesh did have someone like Ariful Haque to bowl some seam-up deliveries, but sadly, Ariful is more about line-and-length stuff rather than generating pace and movement – useful in the shorter formats though. Test cricket demands more skill.

In the post-lunch session of Day 2, Tendai Chatara and Kyle Jarvis started off by pitching the ball up more to t batters from a full-length and swing it as much as possible as because the weather in Sylhet during November is not as hot and dry like March or September or October and despite the sunshine, the chill in the air could be felt.

Sylhet is a tropical region where the rainfall is more in most months of the year, and dry season is relatively shorter. The dark clouds tend to fly over the sky of Sylhet consistently and always gives the impression of a shower at any moment. Moreover, the presence of winter can be felt earlier in Sylhet than other divisions.

Thus, even if you try to prepare a dry-deck, it might not start to crumble to early as because, the moisture does not vanish in the twinkle of an eye. And in a tropical region like Sylhet, obviously, the seamers would get some assistance.

Also read: Bangladesh batsmen let the team down again

And for which, Jarvis and Chatara were able to extract enough movement off the deck. After bowling two away swingers, they brought one back from the back of a length against which, the Bangladesh batters failed to negotiate.

Their discipline and skill exposed Bangladesh’s fragile technique and temperament. Mahmudullah and Imrul Kayes watched the ball move away but left a gap between bat and pad when the ball came back in, while Liton Das and Nazmul Hasan poked at one, which was leaving after pitching around the offstump.

The top-order was outclassed by the movement and Bangladesh could never recover from the disastrous start.

Zimbabwe bossed the day and certainly, they deserved such. While the visitors studied and utilized the condition better, the hosts think tank took things for granted.  They waited for the condition to favour them rather than thinking of utilizing it the right way. And, when you wait for things to happen in Test cricket, you can’t reap a rich harvest.

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