Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam sliced through Zimbabwe’s batting line-up with eight wickets as his side escaped with a three-wicket win on the third day of the first Test in Mirpur.
Islam not only registered his career-best bowling figures, but also became the first Bangladeshi bowler to take eight wickets in a Test innings.
Starting out the day on 5/0, Zimbabwe’s opening pair of Vusi Sibanda and Regis Chakabva only added 14 runs to their five-run partnership before Sibanda was caught behind off the bowling of Islam for 14 runs.
Following Sibanda’s dismissal, Islam continued to rip through Zimbabwe’s batting line-up with relative ease.
Other than captain Brendan Taylor, who scored an unbeaten 45, which came off 60 balls and included eight boundaries, none of the other Zimbabwe batsmen were able to make any major contributions.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Islam was easily the pick of the bowlers with his eight wickets, while Shakib Al Hasan and Shahadat Hossain chipped in with one wicket apiece as Zimbabwe were bowled out for a dismal 114, which left Bangladesh needing 101 runs to win.
Chasing 101 to win, Bangladesh got off to a horrendous start as Tamim Iqbal, Shamsur Rahman and Mominul Haque were all dismissed without a single run being scored.
With Bangladesh struggling on 0/3, Al Hasan and Mahmudullah amassed a vital 46-run partnership before Al Hasan was caught by John Nyumbu off the bowling of Tendai Chatara for 15 runs.
Mahmudullah went on to score 28 runs before he was clean bowled by Elton Chigumbura.
Chigumbura struck again just three balls later when Shuvagata Hom was caught behind for a duck.
Hossain mustered 11 runs before he was caught by Taylor at second slip off the bowling of Tinashe Panyangara.
However, Zimbabwe’s valiant effort went in vain as Bangladesh skipper Musfiqur Rahim and Islam amassed an unbeaten 19-run partnership to carry their side over the finish line.
Rahim finished on 23 off 63 balls, which included three boundaries, while Islam remained undefeated on 15 off 23 deliveries, which included two boundaries.
Chigumbura was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Panyangara snapped up two and Chatara claimed one.
Taylor was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “Credit to Bangladesh, we were mentally weak with the bat, we can’t win Tests like that. Our bowlers showed a lot of character. You have to have the mindset that you can win from any situation. We started well and had them three down but dropped two chances. Mushy held his end and marshalled his troops very well. Long knocks are our major worry, 20s and 30s won’t help. They played better cricket and we’ll come back stronger in the second Test. There was pace and bounce so it was fun. The groundsmen made a good wicket.”
Rahim was pleased to have taken a 1-0 lead, and said: “We are not where we want to be but the boys played very well and a win is a win. There’s a lot of areas to improve on. Our batting and bowling both. Taijul has been great for the last couple of matches, Shakib also bowled really well and Jubair too. It’s a total team and all-round effort. To win Tests you have to play big innings to make it count.”
Islam was named Man of the Match, and said: “Thanks to everyone who supported me – captain, support staff. I’ll try to get better in the future. I am trying to adjust slowly since my debut in the West Indies. I only wanted to support Mushy bhai in the Test and didn’t want to do anything wrong.”