HARARE (Zimbabwe Investor) – Veteran Test batsman Hamilton Masakadza scored a fighting 111 not-out as Zimbabwe succumbed to a series levelling 143-run defeat against Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club.
Masakadza held off the Bangladesh attack for more than six hours but lacked support at the other end, allowing the tourists to bowl Zimbabwe out for 257 when they need 401 runs.
Zimbabwe’s last-wicket pair of Hamilton Masakadza and Kyle Jarvis held up Bangladesh for 11.3 overs, but their resistance ended when Jarvis fell leg-before to Shakib Al Hasan 20 minutes before the tea break.
Bangladesh made it to the finish line with help from an unlikely quarter. Debutant Ziaur Rahman was hardly expected to be an influence with the ball but he picked up 4 for 63 with his medium pace, playing the role of the third seamer. Forced to give up pace bowling due to a debilitating knee condition, Rahman has played a lot of his recent cricket as a batting allrounder.
Zimbabwe gave a good account of their fighting ability too, but they failed to reproduce the impressive showing from the first Test. They were bowled out having managed to extend the game beyond lunch.
Hamilton Masakadza was steadfast at the crease, reaching his third Test hundred with a massive six. The hundred came off 212 balls and included ten fours and four sixes. The unbeaten knock was far better than the numbers suggest, given that most of his runs came while batting with the tail.
For all of his effort, Masakadza could not have saved the Test on his own. The Bangladesh bowlers managed to get the required wickets easily: Shingi Masakadza missed a sweep shot just after the drinks break, Elton Chigumbura chipped one down short midwicket’s throat and Richmond Mutumbami dragged the ball on to the stumps after the lunch break.
Ashraful took the wicket of the younger Masakadza, who made 24 off 90 balls. It was the first breakthrough of the morning, after 18.1 overs. Soon after, Chigumbura was caught by Robiul off Sohag Gazi’s bowling. Mutumbami was dismissed by Ziaur Rahman, who also took the wicket of Graeme Cremer, edging the ball to Nasir Hossain at first slip.
Cremer and Mutumbami were expected to be stumbling blocks but the Bangladesh bowlers did not give in to Zimbabwe’s resistance. Keegan Meth, batting with a right knee injury, was the ninth wicket to fall and the lbw decision went Bangladesh’s way after a loud and prolonged appeal; not the first doubtful decision of the match.
Robiul, who was named Man of the Series, also reached another landmark in the Test. He became the first Bangladesh pace bowler to bowl more than 100 overs in a Test series, surpassing the record previously held by Khaled Mahmud, who bowled 99 overs in a three-Test series against Pakistan in 2003.
It was perhaps apt that the two teams ended on even terms. There were periods of attritional cricket and both teams made several mistakes. The umpiring was shoddy, too, but in the end, the series will be remembered for performances from Brendan Taylor and Robiul.
Bangladesh 391 (Shakib Al Hasan 81, Chigumbura 3-75) and 291 for 9 dec (Mushfiqur 93, Nasir 67*, S Masakadza 4-58) beat Zimbabwe 282 (Chigumbura 86, Mutumbami 42, Robiul 5-85, Gazi 4-59) and 257 (H Masakadza 111*, Rahman 4-63, Shakib Al Hasan 3-52) by 143 runs