A win against Zimbabwe is as good as a win against Zimbabwe

|| Published: 2020-02-25 16:31:42 || Updated: 2020-02-25 16:31:42

Bangladesh are yet to register any points in the ICC Test Championship, and if they are to get points there, they need to play even better than they did against Zimbabwe.
What good does winning a Test match against Zimbabwe by an innings and 109-runs do for Bangladesh cricket?

Does it ensure that the team will be able to make strides in the Test arena, especially in the ICC World Test Championship?

Does it help the team gain confidence to do well away from home, especially when they visit Pakistan for the next Test at Rawalpindi?

Or does it paper over the cracks where the team has lost six of the last seven Tests and five by an innings.

Let’s take a closer look.
Nayeem Hasan: The young off-spinner has shown immense courage and determination to bowl a 32-over spell in the first day of the Test match and took match figures of 9-152, his career best.

He was the best bowler in the match by a country mile and maintained an excellent channel to bowl continuously at one spot and frustrate the batsmen.

Although he’s not a big turner of the ball, he relied on his height to give the ball flight and deceive the Zimbabwe players.

His best moment came when he came on to bowl the first over of Zimbabwe’s second innings late on day three, and took two wickets in consecutive balls; the first delivery was especially good as the ball pitched on a length, zipped off the surface and went straight on to hit the stumps instead of spinning away.

He lost a bit of steam in the second innings and was a bit more expensive on day four but that also brought him three more wickets as the Zimbabwe batsmen lost their wickets by trying to attack his bowling too much.

Nayeem, 19, has started his career brightly, but he must work on his variations and constantly evolve his game to ensure he goes on to have a successful career, unlike many that came before him and faded away.
Mushfiqur Rahim: The veteran middle-order batsman is showing the benefits of giving up the gloves by batting so fluently in Test cricket.

He was the best batsman against India in India and has carried that form by scoring a double-century here – all after ditching wicket-keeping.

The batting was brisk, uncomplicated and he barely broke a sweat as he batted for an entire day and paced his innings to perfection.

In the post-day press-conference on Monday, Mushfiq expressed his desire to bat even longer and aim for a triple hundred.

In the innings of 203* he overtook Tamim Iqbal as the Bangladeshi with the most Test runs and he looks set to establish himself as the country’s best batsman.

He also spoke about feeling a bit more “relaxed when fielding than wicket-keeping” and his efforts in the field were also impressive, especially the catch he took at mid-wicket to dismiss a set Sikandar Raza on day four.

There is talk of him returning to the national team for the third leg of the Pakistan tour and against a solid Pakistan pace line-up, his batting would be vital for the team.

Mominul Haque: The captain spoke of wanting to score big ahead of the Test match and he delivered as he scored a 132-run innings and got back among the runs after enduring a torrid time with the bat against India and Pakistan, since becoming captain.

He was also aggressive with his declaration late on day three as he wanted Zimbabwe to bat for a few overs after spending the better part of two days on the field and that paid dividends.

The declaration seemed even better as rain was on the horizon and Bangladesh managed to win in the second session of day four, just before the rain got a bit heavier and the light dissipated.

He ensured that his spinners bowled long spells and with a four-bowler attack, managed to eke out all 20 Zimbabwe wickets in the nick of time.

The diminutive left-hander was also good in the field as he affected the run-out of in-form Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine on day four when it seemed like Raza and Ervine would force the game to day five.
The batsmen getting starts and getting themselves out: A regular issue with the Bangladesh batsmen has been their failure to convert starts into bigger scores.

Tamim Iqbal, who has been struggling for form in international cricket for a year finally seemed to find his feet and his timing but after a composed 41, played at a ball he could have left; it was a very good ball from Donald Tiripano but a batsman the calibre of Tamim should have been able to deal with it.

Najmul Hossain Shanto was the next batsman who got himself set, got a fifty, looked set for a hundred and then drove at a ball that bounced too much and was caught behind for 71.

The biggest offender here though would be Liton Das, who paced his innings beautifully and played excellent cricketing shots in his 53.

In fact, he looked like the best batsman in the team, playing some gorgeous shots and really should have made this start count.

But he gifted his wicket away but trying to play a cheeky glide fine and ending up being caught behind by the keeper, who took an excellent catch.

Opener Saif Hassan, who just made his in the last Test against Pakistan will also be ruing the opportunity to not get a big score as this was a very good batting deck and not the most dangerous bowling attack.

Taijul Islam in the first innings and fast bowlers in the second innings: Taijul was the most expensive bowler in the first innings and constantly leaked runs by bowling too full.

He did take two wickets for 90 runs in his 27.3 overs but given that Zimbabwe scored only 265 runs in 106.3 overs before losing all their wickets, he was not up to his usual standards.

Expected to be the leader of the bowling attack in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, he was the worst of a good bunch.

Ebadat Hossain and Abu Jayed were very impressive in the first innings as they caused the Zimbabwe a lot of trouble and Abu Jayed also reaped the rewards by taking 4-71 while Ebadat had the most impressive economy among the bowlers with an economy of 1.52.

But in the second innings, they barely got a chance to bowl and bowled a total of just nine overs in the 57.3 overs that Zimbabwe batted.

Ebadat was visibly down on pace and looked knackered from bowling 17 overs in the first innings and bowled just five overs.

Abu Jayed bowled just four overs and was very economical, conceding just four runs but perhaps low light meant that only spinners could bowl.

It was a missed opportunity for the fast bowlers to take wickets in the second innings and show their skill as that is something that coach Russell Domingo is looking for.

He wants proper pitches that aid the batsmen and the bowlers equally and not just turning wickets and pitch curator Gamini Silva delivered an excellent pitch.

Fast bowlers accounted for just four out of the 20 Zimbabwe wickets and no batsman got out to a fast bowler in the second innings.

In the end, there were some positives as the batsmen gained confidence and Nayeem further established his place in the side.

But the way the batsmen got out after settling in, and the lack of opportunities for the fast bowlers in the second innings create big question marks over how the team will do when faced with tougher opposition like Pakistan next.

Bangladesh are yet to register any points in the ICC Test Championship, and if they are to get points there, they need to play even better than they did against Zimbabwe.

As a result, a win against Zimbabwe is just that – a win against Zimbabwe; nothing more, nothing less.

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