Zimbabwe got off to a good start on day one of the first Test against Bangladesh at Sylhet, reaching 236-5 at the close of play at a rate just over 2.5 runs to the over.
Zimbabwe took the initiative to bat first as the picturesque Sylhet ground in Bangladesh, and the Southern Africans were looking solid with 35 on the board in the 11th over when Brian Chari was bowled by Taijul Islam for 13.
Brendan Taylor was next to go with the score on 47, caught at short leg by Nazmul Hossain Shanto off Taijul Islam for six. Hamilton Masakadza went to his fifty before Abu Jayed got good movement to trap him leg before for 52 off 105 balls (four fours, two sixes).
Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza moved the score along to 129 before Raza (after a slow and steady 19 off 52 balls) was the fourth wicket to fall, bowled through the gate by Nazmul Islam.
Williams and Peter Moor added 72 for the fifth wicket, the first half-century stand of the innings, before the 32-year-old Williams, who looked on track for his second Test century, fell for 88 off 173 balls (nine fours), caught Mehidy Hasan Miraz off the bowling of Mahmudullah.
Moor (37 off 122 balls) and Regis Chakabva (20 off 48) added an unbroken 35 for the sixth wicket as Zimbabwe ground their way through to the close of play. After a good day of Test cricket (a rare commodity in the lives of Zimbabwe’s cricketers, they will need to bat long tomorrow, as Bangladesh are likely to christen their new Test venue with a large score.
Taijul Islam finished with 2-86 (econ 3.18), while Mehidy Hasan Miraz proved tough to score off, his 21 overs costing just 37 runs (econ 1.76), albeit without reward in the wickets column.
‘Good batting wicket, but not one where you can score freely on. You had to grind it out and not throw it away,’ said Williams after the close of play. ‘We didn’t have too many partnerships, which was a bit of a letdown, but I’m happy with the way we played. I was disappointed to get out so close to drinks. One lapse of concentration let me down, or I could have still been out there.
‘PJ and Regis are looking good,’ added Williams. ‘Hopefully, they can kick on tomorrow and not let these dot balls affect them, because Test cricket lasts a long time. It’s crucial that we bat for a long time in the first innings. If the cracks open up, it could be a very good Test match.’
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