Wed, 01 Apr 2020

Mominul, Shanto drive Bangladesh to position of strength

23 Feb 2020, 22:42 GMT+10

6:10 AM ET

Bangladesh 240 for 3 (Mominul 79*, Shanto 71, Tiripano 1-40) trail Zimbabwe 265 (Ervine 107, Nayeem 4-70, Jayed 4-71) by 25 runs

Bangladesh took the plaudits on the second day in Mirpur, with Abu Jayed's career-best innings haul of 4 for 71 followed up by a maiden Test fifty for Najmul Hossain Shanto and a return to form for Mominul Haque, who registered his first fifty as captain of the Test side. With Jayed's efforts restricting Zimbabwe's first innings to 265, partnerships of 78, 76 and 68* from the top order erased much of the deficit as Bangladesh went to stumps on a healthy 240 for 3.

Zimbabwe, meanwhile, left the field with a few serious injury concerns. Seamer Victor Nyauchi wore a stinging drive from Tamim Iqbal on his right wrist, and went off for some time to ice the blow. He returned, able to bowl, but when he was struck in the same position while fielding in the covers late in the day, he was once again forced from the field, joining Prince Masvaure on the sidelines. Masvaure himself had to leave and have his right hand strapped in bandages when Mominul thrashed a pull straight at him while he was fielding under the helmet at short leg, the ball cracking into the back of his right hand. It remains to be seen how much of a role either will be able to play in the remainder of the Test.

Battered and bruised, Zimbabwe endured a gruelling day in the field as Bangladesh built their innings around a series of steady stands. After the early loss of Saif Hassan, caught behind off Nyauchi, had raised Zimbabwe's hopes, Shanto settled in alongside Tamim to see the shine off the new ball and take their side out of danger.

They burst out of the blocks in the second session, Shanto standing tall to crunch the very first ball after the lunch interval to the cover boundary. He continued to pepper the same region whenever the Zimbabweans obliged him with too much width.

Tamim, meanwhile, took his time to settle and then displayed his full repertoire. Keeping his left elbow high, checking his shots and holding his shape, he drove debutant seamer Charlton Tshuma straight, through mid-on, and in front of point. Shanto's whip into the leg side off Sikandar Raza's offspin brought up the fifty stand, and Bangladesh were cruising.

To their credit, Zimbabwe managed to re-group and rally after the second drinks break. Raza tightened his lines, while the re-introduction of Nyauchi helped to cut down Tamim's scoring options. But it was Donald Tiripano who finally broke through, switching his angle of attack to around the stumps and seaming one in to kiss the inside edge of a Tamim drive.

Shanto endured a couple of nervous moments before he got to his landmark, reaching fifty with a series of singles, while it took Mominul some time to find his range. Back-to-back boundaries off Raza got him moving, and he displayed a deft touch in running Nyauchi through gully with a late cut to raise the second fifty partnership of the innings.

A hefty stand beckoned, but against the run of play Tshuma forced a breakthrough as he found some extra bounce and the edge of an indecisive poke from Shanto, who fell for 71. That wicket opened the door once again for Zimbabwe, but Mominul and Mushfiqur's partnership steadily shut it once more.

Mushfiqur was off the mark with an imperious square drive, and soon afterwards Mominul raised his fifty, from 78 deliveries. Zimbabwe could find no way to halt their accumulation, the pair moving steadily on to a third fifty stand and remaining unbeaten at the close.

The competence exhibited by Bangladesh's top order backed up the performance of the bowlers earlier in the day, and Jayed deserves much of the credit for the paucity of the visitors' first dig effort. On a hazy winter's morning, with a relatively new ball in his hands, he found plenty of swing to lead Bangladesh's effort with the ball, Taijul Islam backing him up with two wickets to help to wrap things up after Zimbabwe had started the day at 228 for 6.

Keeping the ball up to the bat and searching for swing, Jayed soon got the better of Tiripano and Ainsley Ndlovu. At the other end, a Taijul arm ball was too good for Tshuma. With only No. 11 Nyauchi for company, Chakabva farmed the strike and kept the scoreboard ticking over with the odd big shot, sweeping Taijul and pulling Jayed to good effect. But it was just such a shot that brought the innings to an end, Chakabva bending low into a slog sweep at Taijul, only to top edge the attempt out to deep midwicket.

While the breakthroughs had come steadily for Bangladesh, Zimbabwe found no such joy and, with the pitch flattening out, they could well face another difficult day in the field tomorrow.

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