Test match evenly poised

HARARE - Some may describe the ongoing Test match between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh as a typical bottom of the basement battle.

Scrappy and not worth watching. In some respects, those who are of the opinion that neither team have played to their full potential may be right, well, to a certain respect.

Both teams were below par with the bat, but what it has done is set up an intriguing day of cricket.

Zimbabwe would have been desperately disappointed with their first innings total of 240, but they would have been quietly confident knowing that, although Bangladesh are blessed with an abundance of naturally-talented stroke makers who have the tendency to get themselves out playing rash shots.

Both teams were guilty of getting good starts, but unable to carry on and convert the starts into a partnership of substance.

For the second time in their Test career, Bangladesh had no less than three run outs in their innings, the first being back in 2008 against South Africa at Supersport Park in Centurion.

As for the Zimbabwean bowlers, the selectors may have found a long time opening partnership in Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara. These two complement each other very nicely.

Both are tall and strongly built, both hit the deck hard and consistently hit good areas as well.

Both are very patient, relying on their accurate line and length that they maintain throughout their spells.

We often see fast bowlers get carried away when they find themselves in conditions which favour them.

When on the hard and bouncy wickets of Australia or South Africa, fast bowlers often get punished by bowling to short, or become predictable by bowling bouncer after bouncer.

Or when touring England, swing bowlers often over pitch and get driven down the ground when they see the overcast English conditions which normally encourage swing bowling.

Yesterday, the pitch showed signs of uneven bounce and there was a lot of swing on offer thanks to the humid and overcast weather in Dhaka.

Both Chatara and Panyangara stayed calm and simply stuck to their original game plan by bowling a probing line and length, and then letting the ball and overhead conditions do the rest.

Bangladesh would have been furious that none of their set batsmen were able to go on and reach three figures, all three of them were guilty of giving their wickets away at very crucial periods of the game.

Sikandar Raza Butt seemed to be in a considerable amount of discomfort when leaving the field, and one only hopes he will be able to return at some point of the second innings to try and extend the lead on a pitch which will become more difficult to bat on as time goes by.

Whether you feel this has been a poor standard of test cricket or not, one thing is for certain — the more these two teams play each other throughout this Test series, the better they will get to know each other.

Come the third and final Test in Chittagong, both teams would hopefully have learnt more about strategising, as well as how to finish off an innings, and how to convert 50s into match winning hundreds.

It may then give us a very clear idea as to who will always remain a so-called fringe player, and who would have graduated into a genuine test player.?

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