Zim out to tame Tigers

HARARE - After back-to-back series whitewash against South Africa and Bangladesh, Zimbabwe will be hoping for a change in fortune when they take on the Tigers in the first Test today.

Zimbabwe return to red ball cricket when they take on the hosts in Sylhet starting this morning with coach Lalchand Rajput’s side still reeling after defeats in both the ODI and T20 formats.

The current tour began last month in South Africa where the side lost 3-0 to the Proteas in the ODIs before succumbing to a 2-0 loss in the T20s.

Zimbabwe proceeded to the sub-continent where they again lost the ODI series to the Tigers 3-0 towards the end of last month.

With the focus in the tour now shifting to the longer version of the game, Rajput expressed lots of confidence for a comeback given the way the boys have performed in patches recently.

This will be Zimbabwe’s first Test since the experimental four-day game against South Africa in December 2017.

“We are all positive despite the losses in South Africa and Bangladesh. But, if you look at Bangladesh, we had a chance of winning the first ODI,” Rajput said.

“As a batting unit we have really improved with each game. We are almost getting 280-plus so it’s a good sign.

“The batsmen are getting into form. Sean Williams got a 100 and BT (Brendan Taylor) had two 75s.

“Batsmen are getting into rhythm and it’s a good sign before the Test match. So we can definitely compete and the players are looking forward because they have done reasonably well when they played in Bangladesh the last time.

“The mood in the dressing room is very positive. We are looking forward to it and hopefully we will have a better Test match.”

Rajput singled out a lack of game time in Tests but said he was not giving it as an excuse ahead of the match this morning.

“I know Zimbabwe never play many Test matches. The last Test match was a year ago but before we came to Bangladesh we had a game in Harare and we really prepared well for red ball cricket,” he said.

“We had prepared practice pitches for turners and we practiced on turning wickets. Overall we had good game of red ball as well. So we have prepared well; the processes and the other plans.

“Now the time has come that those processes and plans have to be exhibited well here.

“So hopefully the players know what their goal is; what they have to do in the Test match and hopefully we exhibit it better.”

With some steady statistics with the bat in both series Sean Williams is craving for more in a winning cause.

“With the bat, Taylor is starting to come into his own, which is a very good sign for us. And myself, I seem to have found a little bit of form and I’d like to continue with that form,” Williams said.

“Form, as we all know, can be taken away from you very quickly so I’d like to take advantage of that for as long as I possibly can.

“There’s a few guys that are playing well, but just getting out at the wrong times.

“Hamilton (Masakadza) is one, (Sikandar) Raza, those guys can make big runs. Lots on their shoulders leading up to these Test matches and hopefully they come to the party.”

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