(left) Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim (L) presents a big smile while sharing the Teletalk Test series trophy with his Zimbabwe counterpart Brendan Taylor after the second Test that the Tigers won by 143 runs at the Harare Sports Club ground yesterday. Photos: AFP
With a consummate team effort, especially on the last two days of the match, Bangladesh sealed only their fourth victory by fighting their way to a 143-run win over Zimbabwe in the second Test at the Harare Sports Club yesterday. In the process the Tigers levelled the two-Test series after having lost the first by 335 runs at the same venue.
From the first day of cricket on this tour Bangladesh have had a reputation to uphold. They came to these shores as the decidedly superior team, and while they failed spectacularly to prove that in the first Test, there was ample evidence of the fact in the second Test because of the sheer number of performers that contributed to the win which is their first Test win since August 2009 and fourth overall in 79 matches.
The final day started with Zimbabwe needing 263 runs to win and Bangladesh needing six wickets to record their first win on Zimbabwean soil and level a series they were expected to win. They reached that position because of telling contributions from Robiul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Shohag Gazi and Tamim Iqbal. The quantity of quality players always tilted the balance in favour of the Tigers, and it took them long enough to translate that into deeds on the field.
Hamilton Masakadza and brother Shingi frustrated the Tigers for an hour on the final morning, but the seven fielders on the onside with which Gazi bowled built up the frustration for the home side. When Mohammad Ashraful came on to bowl, Shingi saw the opportunity to score and went for an aggressive sweep which he missed to be adjudged leg-before. Elton Chigumbura, top-scorer in Zimbabwe's first innings, could not handle the pressure of the close field and soon spooned a catch to the straighter of the two short midwickets put in place for Gazi. Richmond Mutumbami hung around for a while before becoming Zia's third wicket, chopping a drive on to the stumps.
Cremer had frustrated the Tigers in the first Test, and with Hamilton took the team to lunch. In the eighth over after the break however, Cremer was lured into the drive by Ziaur to be caught by Nasir at first slip. In the next over, Robiul trapped Keegan Meth in front to pick up his first wicket in the innings, such late success a rarity for the man of the series.
The question then was whether Hamilton could get to his third Test century and whether Ziaur could pick up a deserved five-wicket haul. The former happened as last man Kyle Jarvis hung around for longer than expected and hit a couple of fours for good measure.
Hamilton reached his century with a six, one of five in his 252-ball innings, over midwicket