Zimbabwe scored an emphatic 151-run win over Bangladesh in the first Test in Sylhet, with Sikandar Raza knocking over the top order and Brandon Mavuta accounting for the middle order on his Test debut.
Bangladesh openers Liton Das (23 off 75) and Imrul Kayes (43 off 103) put together a good start on the fourth morning, taking the score to 56 without loss before Das was trapped leg before by Raza, but only after asking the umpire to review his not out call.
Kayes was the third wicket to fall with the score on 83, and three more wickets fell for just 49 runs, with Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mushfiqur Rahim both falling for 13.
Ariful Haque added to his undefeated 41 off 96 balls in the first innings to score 38 off 37 balls in the second innings (four fours, two sixes), capping off a satisfactory Test debut that leaves him with a Test average of 79.00 after two innings. Ariful was caught behind off fellow debutant Wellington Masakadza, who finished with 2-33 after going wicketless in the first innings.
Mavuta ended the innings with figures of 4-21 while Raza took 3-41 as Bangladesh were bowled out for 169 off just 63.1 overs, leaving Zimbabwe victors by 151 runs.
Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams picked up the Player of the Match award for scores of 88 and 20, although Taijul Islam might feel aggrieved after his 11-wicket match haul put Bangladesh into contention in the match.
‘I didn’t expect to get this award,’ said Williams after the match. ‘Unfortunately, I didn’t get the 12 I needed for my hundred, but it was good to spend time and score crucial runs. Unfortunately, Mavuta didn’t get five, but on a spin-friendly wicket, Jarvis and Chatara bowled really well in the first innings.’
‘The guys worked hard, applied themselves well to put up an excellent total in the first innings. Ecstatic!’ beamed Zimbabwe’s captain, Hamilton Masakadza, after the match. ‘The guys took time to stay at the wicket and accumulate runs, something we lacked in the ODIs, myself included. The batting performance in the first innings set it up for us. I thought the bowlers were brilliant right through since we’ve landed in Bangladesh. I don’t think they’ve done much wrong. It was great to see our spinners get more out of the surface than Bangladesh’s spinners.’
For the hosts Bangladesh, however, there was much cause for introspection.
‘The application wasn’t there, we didn’t capitalise in the first innings,’ admitted Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah. ‘The wicket was very good, no excuses there. We played too many shots, didn’t read the pitch well. We have to learn from our mistakes and bounce back stronger. Taijul was excellent, he deserved to finish on the winning side.’
The victory was Zimbabwe’s third Test win away from home and will be cause for celebration throughout Zimbabwe’s cricketing community.
Photo: Munir uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images)