Zim staring down the barrel

HARARE - Despite a refreshingly positive approach to their second innings, Bangladesh are slowly but surely strangling the life out of Zimbabwe.

When the two teams took to the field yesterday morning, the Zimbabwean bowlers looked a little jaded and all of them seemed to be bowling well within themselves.

Field placings were very defensive which allowed the batsmen to work the ball into the plenty of gaps on offer, and rotate the strike without too much pressure.

Winning is clearly still very new to Bangladesh, as their last two batsmen seemed quite happy to enjoy a glorified net session, instead of trying to up the tempo and look for quick runs.

On their part, Zimbabwe will be happy with the consistency and stamina shown by Shingi Masakadza, as the powerfully-built allrounder finished with figures of 4/58 from 24 overs.

His brother Hamilton Masakadza also deserves special mention, his contributions with the ball are becoming more valuable by the day, as his figures of 3/24 from 11 overs clearly suggest.

It was very refreshing to see how Regis Chakabva went about his innings at the top of the order.

Chakabva is often guilty of occupying the crease for lengthy periods of time, without being much of a threat to the opposition.

But his second innings of 22 was a typical middle order player’s innings. He gave the innings energy as he dropped the ball into gaps, and ran like a whippet between the wickets.

And when the opportunity presented itself, he pounced on the bad delivery with gusto. So, it was very disappointing to see his innings come to an abrupt end, thanks to an outstanding ball by Shakib Al Hasan.

As we enter the last day of the Test, it is becoming abundantly clear that Bangladesh are a team who are on the up.

Their batsmen are beginning to consistently perform. They have the dashing flair of Tamim Iqbal, who is more than capable of destroying any bowling attack on his day.

Then, they have the dangerous but unreliable Mohammad Ashraful, who has all the shots in the book but, like Vusi Sibanda tends to play the wrong shot to the wrong ball.

Mominul Haque is unquestionably a player who will make his presence known.

The stylish left hander like so many players from the sub continent, Mominul has an array of shots that are very easy on the eye.

But what impresses more than anything else, is his maturity.

He is only 21 years old, and yet, he shows composure and maturity far beyond his tender age as he was instrumental in rebuilding Bangladesh’s innings after the tourists got their second innings off to a shaky start.

Mushfiqur Rahim has developed into a fine leader and a very dependable wicket keeper-batsman.

But, the one player who continues to pose problem after problem is former captain Shakib Al Hasan.

He is an allrounder any team in world cricket would want to have.

An out and out match winner with both bat and ball, and a player the entire team look up to with admiration and respect.

Their bowlers have been one step ahead of the Zimbabwean counterparts throughout the Test, they have been patient and they have reaped the rewards.

Zimbabwe are left with another 263 runs to get, and with six wickets in hand you cannot help but feel that the momentum is with Bangladesh.

However, one also hopes that the likes of Elton Chigumbura and Hamilton Masakadza will still believe that Zimbabwe could still sneak in through the back door. -
Dean du Plessis

*Dean du Plessis, who was born blind, is a leading Zimbabwean cricket writer and broadcaster, who writes regularly for the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday. He can be contacted on:

Skype: dean.du.plessis31
Twitter: @dean_plessis
Mobile: +263772570371 +263772570371
Email: dean.duplessis77@gmail.com

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