A heavy defeat for Zimbabwe at Mirpur, but they would leave Bangladesh with great satisfaction….
Kyle Jarvis wanted to clear the distance against a tossed-up delivery from Mihedy Hasan Miraz, but the ball landed safely in the hands of Khaled Ahmed. The Bangladesh dressing room and fans breathed a sigh of relief as the hosts levelled the series. Miraz fetched five wickets, while the hero of first innings for Zimbabwe, Brendan Taylor, left the field amid applauds from the spectators present at Mirpur. Taylor’s twin hundreds at Mirpur and the fighting spirit of team Zimbabwe are indicating of a new sunshine.
A bit more resolve might have helped Zimbabwe to see-off the fifth day at Mirpur. But one needs to keep in mind, Zimbabwe don’t play enough Test matches like their counterpart, and to achieve that resolve to exhibit in five-day matches, a team needs to play Test cricket regularly. Sadly, Zimbabwe don’t play enough of Test matches.
Still, Zimbabwe had not been the bashing-boys like the limited-overs encounter, but in turn, they dished out a brand new, never-say-die spirit, for which, the hosts were not prepared for. Neither the fans nor the experts expected such a display from the visitors.
In my opinion, this 2-match Test series is a morale victory for Zimbabwe.
They have tested the hosts, who were much more superior to them and despite the absence of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh boasted with players to beat Zimbabwe – it was evident in the limited-overs contest. As soon as the Test series started off in Sylhet, Zimbabwe turned the tables upside down. The skill and temperament of Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Brendan Taylor, Tendai Chatara, Mavuta and Kyle Jarvis outshone the experience of Bangladesh cricketers. Astonishingly and rather deservingly, Zimbabwe took a 1-0 lead.
The second Test went to the fifth day and it might not have been possible if Brendan Taylor and Peter Moore did not fightback in style to dent the Bangladesh attack. They batted throughout the third day and conveyed the message to all, they are here to fight and not surrender easily.
Zimbabwe proved to be a hard nut to crack since the first ball was bowled in the inaugural Test match at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium. At Sylhet, they batted with enough grit, while bowled with enough intent to knock the Tigers out of the park – it was a victory of spirit over adversity. They brought the spirit back in Mirpur and despite the scoreboard pressure and one-man down, the African Nation denied to bog down against the guile of Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Since 2003, nothing has gone right for Zimbabwe. Political turmoil and at the same time, financial crises, left Zimbabwe cricket at bay. The once feared giant killers of world cricket hit the rock bottom in the course of time. But somehow, the passion to play cricket remained alive and despite all those setbacks since the last fifteen years, Zimbabwe tried harder to rediscover themselves in this topsy-turvy world of international cricket.
All those setbacks, sacrifices and hard work were evident in the Test series against Bangladesh. Team Zimbabwe deserves more opportunities to play Test matches and only then, they would be able to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned.
The top cricketing nations need to step forward for the betterment of a cricket nation, who, once upon a time, enriched world cricket with their entertaining exhibitions and have gifted cricket the likes of Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Alastair Campbell and Raymond Price.
Test cricket can’t just be competitive with just one India, Australia, England or South Africa; but to be competitive and exciting enough like the 90s, the betterment of teams like Zimbabwe is highly important. They are improving and the big fishes need to lend a helping hand for their further progression.