Dhaka pitch helps Shakib bounce back
Shakib Al Hasan has said that Bangladesh would be looking to get at least 350, after the spinner led the attack with 6 for 59 to restrict Zimbabwe to 240. Expressing some surprise on the bounce afforded by a first-day Dhaka pitch, Shakib expected Bangladesh's batsmen to give the team a substantial lead.
"If we can score 400 it will be really good, but it's not as though the pitch is really good for batsmen," Shakib said. "But I believe that we have the ability to score 350 to 400. If we can do this or maybe even 600, I think 350 to 400 will be a good total for the second innings."
The bounce was a feature of the pitch all day. Shahadat Hossain peppered Sikandar Raza with bouncers, but his lack of pace meant either the batsman ducked under his deliveries or was able to play the pull. However, the spinners were a threat throughout, with Shakib's first three wickets all falling to ones kicking up from the surface.
"I have never got this much bounce," he said. "But it didn't bounce on a consistent basis. There were a few deliveries, which bounced. But I never saw it bounce like this."
Sikandar Raza, who was the only half-centurion in Zimbabwe's innings, also mentioned the bounce but ruled it out as a major factor behind Zimbabwe's failure to construct partnerships. Instead, he said it was the timing of his dismissal that was disappointing.
"Normally, you come to Asia and expect low-bounce wickets," Raza said. "This didn't really surprise us especially since we come from a place where we are used to bouncy wickets, but I thought the wicket played well.
"We were stringing a few more partnerships together. But our best batters got out. Elti [Chigumbura] and I had a forty-odd run partnership. But I think the most disappointing was for me to get out at that time."
Apart from the two half-century partnerships - 52 for the third wicket and 50 for the sixth - Zimbabwe continued to lose wickets before being bowled out in 75.5 overs. The start had been shaky too; Vusi Sibanda got a good delivery early on and Hamilton Masakadza played a loose shot to throw his wicket away. Two wickets in the first hour was all Bangladesh needed after being asked to bowl.
"Game-plan was basically to get early wickets," Shakib said. "Because they got bowled out so we are on track. We wanted to get early wickets, which is very important."
Making a comeback, it was Shakib who led the bowling from the front. He bowled almost one-third of the overs in the innings and returned with his 12th five-wicket haul. Shakib has now taken a five-wicket haul against every team he has played in Tests. However, he is yet to play a Test against Australia.
"I take this achievement well obviously," he said. "I don't know actually there is no such separate feeling but if I can perhaps play against Australia next time and get a five-wicket haul then it will be a good experience and it will be a good feeling at the end of my career perhaps.
"Before I was about to deliver the first ball the way the crowd cheered for me, I forgot everything else all my concerns and all the other feelings disappeared. I am very lucky to get this support and hopefully I will continue getting this."
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo