Zimbabwe registered its first test victory since 2013, thrashing Bangladesh by 151 runs in the opening test on Tuesday with a day to spare. Since its victory against Pakistan at Harare five years ago, Zimbabwe had lost 11 matches and drawn one.
Bangladesh, 26 without loss overnight and needing 321 to win, was all out for 169 in its second innings before tea on day four. “This will definitely revive Zimbabwean cricket,” Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput said. “We have started believing that we can’t only win at home, we can win abroad as well. This is the first step and we need to kick on from here.”
The Zimbabwe spinners lived up to Rajput’s prediction they would be decisive on a fourth-day pitch to derail Bangladesh’s chase. Offspinner Sikandar Raza wreaked havoc on Bangladesh’s top order with 3-41, and the mopping up was achieved by the debutants, legspinner Brandon Mavuta (4-21) and left-arm spinner Wellington Masakadza (2-33).
“We were hungry to win. We wanted really badly to win the match because we had been losing previous games,” Rajput said “That was key, because if you’re hungry for success, you’ll do well.”
Bangladesh opener Imrul Kayes was the top scorer with 43, and debutant Ariful Haque added 38 before being the last batsman out. Bangladesh, which scored 143 in the first innings, fell for less than 200 for an eighth straight innings. “I don’t want to show any excuse, that will be lame,” Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah said. “We batted really badly. We got out even to bad deliveries. If we continue batting like this, I don’t think we have any place in test cricket.
“It’s a matter of prestige. We must fight back strongly. Otherwise there is no point playing test cricket like this.”
In an extended morning session to make up for overs lost the previous day, Raza broke through with the wicket of Liton Das for 23, via leg before to end a stubborn opening partnership. Fast bowler Kyle Jarvis produced a beauty, extracting some extra bounce off the pitch to dismiss Mominul Haque on 9 with Bangladesh at 67-2.
Kayes survived on 20 but looked shaky, and resisted Zimbabwe for 103 balls. However, his decision to paddle sweep against Raza cost him his wicket on 43 after hitting six boundaries.
Raza continued tormenting Bangladesh with his sly offbreaks, and Mahmudullah perished to a loose shot on 16, to extend his agony. Mavuta joined the party, dismissing Nazmul Hossain for 13 for his maiden test wicket on the stroke of lunch.
Afterwards, Mavuta ended Bangladesh’s hopes of clawing back, taking the prized wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim for 13. Together with Masakadza, they cleaned up the tail with minimum toil.
Zimbabwe scored 282 and 181, leaving Bangladesh to pull off a record chase. Instead, Zimbabwe won its first overseas test in 17 years. The second and final test starts on Sunday in Dhaka.
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