Zimbabwe in Bangladesh 2014-15 November 2, 2014

Taylor banks on seam attack

The trio of Zimbabwe seamers had been productive in Dhaka, compensating for the lack of experience in the spin department. Tinashe Panyangara, Elton Chigumbura and Tendai Chatara handled 65% of the bowling load and picked up 12 off the 14 wickets to fall to the bowlers. That's 85% of the total output.

So it was no wonder that Brendan Taylor again earmarked the seamers to lead the team's challenge despite the Khulna pitch not promising the bounce of Dhaka. On a drier surface, Taylor said his seamers would still be in play with their ability to reverse swing the ball.

"Yes, they do (have the skill to reverse the ball). It's an abrasive surface and the ball will get scuffed up," Taylor said. "They have done it in Test matches at home where the pitches have been less rough. I have no doubt they can do it here. I don't think there is going to be that kind of bounce, but I think our bowlers have the skill and control to contain and take wickets."

Zimbabwe's spinners had appeared toothless in Dhaka on a pitch in which the opposition spinners had run through the batting. Tafadzwa Kamungozi and Natsai M'Shangwe neither showed control nor displayed ability to turn the ball, but asked if the two bowlers were dicey starters in Khulna, Taylor said it was a big topic of discussion, though a decision had not been made.

"We have got reserves in our spin department but we have yet to sit down with the coach and the convenor of selectors to make a decision on that," Taylor said. "It has been a big topic of discussion and we are going to do it this evening, and see how we can fine tune our spin department.

"We are not as blessed as Bangladesh in our spin department. We proved to be a good unit in Dhaka with our seam bowlers. Yes we are aware the pitch is going to be different but we have got what we've got and we've got to make use of it.

If Taylor was discounting on his team's capability in the spin department, it would mean extra pressure on the other two areas - seam-bowling and batting. And there appears to be a serious handicap in one of them - their ability to handle spin, which would leave the side heavily dependent on their seamers to strike.

"Our seam bowlers are good enough to adapt," Taylor said. "I feel they are good enough to strike with the new ball, I feel they are good enough to reverse the ball. That's a danger to any batsman when the ball is reversing and hopefully we can do that."

The memory of losing seven wickets to spin in a session on the third morning would still be fresh for Zimbabwe. More than the collapse, it was the manner of it which would have created a few doubts. It's not their batsmen are novices against the turning ball - most of them have played cricket in this part of the world - but in the third Test, they were ruthlessly exposed. If repeated, it's a mistake that will lose Zimbabwe the series but Taylor said his batsmen were determined to prove otherwise.

"We have worked really hard," he said. "We have done some specific spin drills to counter their spinners. But in saying that, they are going to turn up and make it very difficult for us. They play extremely well at home. But we have played a number of times. We were very sloppy in Dhaka in losing our wickets, so our batters are pretty determined right now. We would like to prove to everybody that we are good players of spin."

A look back at the last Test played on this ground would allay some fears. Both Bangladesh and West Indies' batsmen had feasted on flat batting conditions. The pitch holds a similar promise but can Zimbabwe's batsmen rise to support their seamers?

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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