Shakib Al Hasan’s 17th half-century and an aggressive knock from Rubel Hossain, which saw the number 10 batsman employ a number of baseball-like hits over mid-wicket, helped Bangladesh post 503 by tea on the second day of the third Test against Zimbabwe in Chittagong yesterday.
In reply, the visitors reached 113 for 1 in just 26 overs at stumps. Brian Chari was the only batsman to be dismissed. Sikandar Raza, who bowled 36 overs and took three wickets with the ball, also struck his third half-century in 53 balls. Raza went all out on a wicket that seemed as fresh as it was on Day One. He used his feet against the spinners and drove at will against the pacers, which resulted in nine boundaries for the Zimbabwean. His partner, Hamilton Masakadza batted with a similar intent reaching 50 in 71 balls as the pair scored 104 runs in 24 overs.
Earlier, with an overnight score of 303 for 2 and two inform batsmen at the crease, the hosts were expected to make the most of a track that barely had anything for the bowlers. However, the morning session belonged to the visitors.
It began with Mominul Haque edging a delivery that seemed to have had a little extra bounce to the slip cordon after adding just three runs to his overnight score of 45. Mahmudullah Riyad was the next to depart for 15 after he failed to bring his bat down in time to an in-swinging delivery from Shingi Masakadza.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan however calmed the nerves for a brief period.
Shakib in particular looked in terrific touch. His first runs came through a beautiful drive through cover off Tinashe Panyangara in only the third ball he faced. The next delivery saw a gorgeous drive back past the bowler. However, right before lunch Mushfiqur Rahim, already going through a bad time with the bat in this series, edged a Hamilton Masakadza delivery to the stumps. Bangladesh reached lunch at 384 for 5.
After play resumed, Shakib reached his half-century with a flat-batted hit down the ground. Soon after he seemed to get a bit impatient and attempted to go after a number of deliveries. It was one of these attempted aerial hits against part-timer Raza that he edged to cover, where Craig Ervine took a beautiful diving catch to his right.
The next over saw Taijul Islam edge one back to the keeper and the Tigers suddenly found themselves in danger of getting bowled out below 450, a total they would have expected to reach quite easily after a fabulous performance on Day One.
Bangladesh needed a burst from the lower order and that surprisingly came from the bat of Rubel. Prior to this match the player had a highest score of 17 in Test cricket and 44 in first-class. He went past both those scores as he consistently hammered the Zimbabwean bowlers through mid-wicket. He hit four sixes and two fours in his short cameo and remained unbeaten on 45.
Rubel’s cameo led to a 51-run stand for the last wicket with Jubair Hossain, before the latter ultimately lost his stump in the 154th over. Rubel’s innings showed just how well the pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury played and it seemed like an opportunity lost for a number of Bangladesh’s top-order batsmen.
Source: The Daily Star