A thrashing victory for Bangladesh was expected because it would be highly disgraceful for a nation like Bangladesh, who have been around in the Test arena for more than two decades losing against a side that are struggling big time in the best format of the game. Of course, the shocking defeat at home against a second-string West Indies unit meant, even Zimbabwe could make the Tigers run for their money.
And the fear proved to be coming true when the Zimbabwe bowlers reduced Bangladesh to 132 for 6 and then 270 for 8 until Mahmudullah Riyad and tail-ender Taskin Ahmed rose to the occasion and saved the face of the visitors.
In reply to Bangladesh’s 468 in the first innings, Zimbabwe showed great persistence in the first innings but at one point they lost their way and their determination was evident in the fourth innings as well, but yet again, they lost their way.
The lack of enough exposure to the 5-day format and turmoil in the cricket board has never helped Zimbabwe to progress, but at least, after the dismal show against Pakistan, there were some positives to gain from the only-Test against Bangladesh.
The Zimbabwean bowlers: Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava and Donald Tiripano showed promises for the future while the batsmen: Milton Shumba, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, Dion Myers and Tiripano exhibited the fighting spirit, but what they lack was the patience of 5-day formats.
It was understandable that when you don’t play enough longer-formats then obviously at some point in the match either your bowlers or batsmen would lose the patience and thus, teams like Zimbabwe need to play more Test matches.
Brendan Taylor enjoyed his brilliant run against Bangladesh again – The way Taylor batted put the visitors on the back foot for much of the evening session. He drilled cover drive after cover drive, drove the spinners with ease, looking at times like he was batting in a different league than the batter at the other end.
Taylor ridiculously dominated the 95-run second-wicket stand with Kaitano, who contributed just two runs. He struck 16 fours, plenty of them in the range between cover to right behind the bowler, with a few struck through the legside.
Miraz however got the job done, getting Taylor caught and bowled almost against the run of play, the batsman falling eight runs short of a hundred.
Kaitano fell a little while later, lbw to Shakib as he played back to an arm ball. He faced 102 balls, hitting one four, in a stonewalling display.
Taylor said that the strokeful innings in both the innings were intuitive, as he was trying to preempt the Bangladesh bowlers’ plans on a pitch he considered to be almost dead for the bowlers.
He said, “There was no real intent to play with that amount of aggression, but playing instinctively paid off for me. I thought that at the end of day four, the wicket will start getting tired. Instead of just sitting around, I wanted to be a little proactive, and try to send a message to the guys that the wicket is still playing okay. Hopefully, I have done that.”
“I got out at the wrong time, and I felt that I left so many runs out there. It is hurting me at the moment, but there are guys that I have a lot of faith in, as well. It is frustrating (to miss out on the hundred) when you are going that well. You want to kick on (and score the hundred) obviously. From the team’s perspective, it was crucial that I stayed out there for a longer period.”
Taylor said that the rest of the Zimbabwe batters are capable of putting up a good fight on the fifth day and that the overnight batters Dion Myers and nightwatchman Donald Tiripano must stave off the first hour as a first priority.
“We want to start the first hour well. Hopefully, we don’t lose a wicket. We have guys who are technically sound and solid. Unfortunately, we lost Kaitano in the end there. He has been a pillar for us. But there are guys there who can really front up, which will be the chat tomorrow. There’s no better time to save a game for your country,” he said.
“The attitude has always been good, particularly with the ball as well. The wicket was pretty dead, and the batsmen were going pretty hard at the ball. They were not giving many chances. All I asked my bowlers, was to keep fronting up. They are young guys with great attitude and a lot of commitment. We had to work hard.”
Taylor said that Bangladesh’s experience as a Test side showed as they dominated any time they got set in the middle.
“They have shown that they are an experienced side. They have dominated, and when they get in, they make it count. We have certainly learned a lot from how they have gone about their business,” he said.
Brendan Taylor’s flamboyance and the defiant resistance of Kaitano should inspire Zimbabwe to progress.