Sunday, June 16, 2024

Into the abyss

Tigers perish in one-off Test
As far as hitting an abyss goes, the Tigers have hit an even lower one at the Harare Sports Club yesterday, if that was possible.
The 130-run defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in the one-off Test ranks among the poorest days in Bangladesh cricket, if not the most disappointing as far as captain Shakib Al Hasan was concerned.
Being 244 all out in the second innings off 57.3 overs, in pursuit of 374 runs in four sessions, was poor on all counts: the surrender when a chase was definitely on, batting the fewest number of overs in the game when patience was most required, the lack of a Plan B (the non-existence of a proper Plan A for that matter) and the lack of commitment.
These missing ingredients make the country’s cricket poorer and the national cricket team an object of ridicule.
With 263 more runs required for an improbably victory since only seven wickets remained on the fifth and final day, a fight beckoned. But the fight, something that the Tigers were seen involved in only on a few occasions this year, went missing.
On the flipside, the home team gave the best example of preparation, togetherness, discipline and most importantly heart. Brendan Taylor’s men wanted to win and they did, the captain picking up the man-of-the-match trophy for his match-winning second innings century.
The Tigers were off to an aggressive start yesterday but Mohammad Ashraful was the first to go. He inside edged a Brian Vitori delivery on to his stumps, leaving for 39 off 51 balls.
Mahmudullah Riyad came in to bat, for the first time in his short Test career at No 6, and immediately the Tigers’ mindset became dubious. It was as much a defensive move as it stacked the odds against Shakib Al Hasan, opting to bat at seven for the fourth time since he became captain.
Riyad, wafting at a number of deliveries without moving his feet much, perished in said fashion to Chris Mpofu. It became 167 for five and a Test win was out of the window.
With a bigger tail to bat with and as the last recognised pair, Shakib’s intent was clearer than the Harare sky. He went for broke and off Elton Chigumbura, he smashed one boundary that kissed the finger-tips of mid-off fieldsman Kyle Jarvis and then swished at one that he hoped to send out of the ground.
Next ball, his waft found the edge and went straight to his opposite number at second slip.
Mushfiqur Rahim, flicking one down square-leg’s throat, went at the same score 174 for seven and it was all over for Bangladesh.
Abdur Razzak blasted five boundaries and three sixes, in the space of two overs, to ensure that someone would remember he played in this Test but apart from his 17-ball 43, nothing was good about the Tigers.
After the lunch break, Jarvis cleaned up the rest with his third and fourth wicket to cap off a remarkable debut after his bad luck in the first innings.
ZIMBABWE: First innings 370
BANGLADESH: First innings 287
ZIMBABWE: Second innings 291 for 5 decl.
BANGLADESH: Second innings 244 (Imrul 31, Tamim 43, Ashraful 39, Mushfiqur 28, Razzak 43, Robiul 12; Jarvis 14-61, Chigumbura 2-50, Mpofu 3-51)
Result: Zimbabwe won by 130 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Brendan Taylor.

-With The Daily Star input

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