Injuries cloud Zimbabwe preparation
Heath Streak: an injury worry
Blessing Mahwire has been called into the Zimbabwe squad for tomorrow's second Test against Bangladesh at Bulawayo, after Andy Blignaut was forced to withdraw with a thigh strain.
Mahwire has played in four Tests to date, but has picked up just three wickets in that time, at an average of 119.66. Blignaut, by contrast, managed that tally in as many balls in the first Test at Harare, when he became the first Zimbabwean to take a hat-trick.
"It's disappointing to lose Andy, but we've got Blessing Mahwire coming in and hopefully he will give us the pace we need," Geoff Marsh, the coach, told the BBC. "We'll miss 'Blig' and his outright pace, but when you lose players like that you've got to recover, and we're looking forward to giving Blessing a chance and seeing how he goes."
Zimbabwe have several injury worries to contend with, after their 183-run victory earlier this week. Their captain, Heath Streak, has been suffering from back spasms, while Stuart Carlisle has a quadricep strain and was unlikely to play according to team manager Babu Meman. Marsh added that Zimbabwe would delay naming their team until the morning of the match because of the weather, which was wet for most of Wednesday.
Bangladesh have made one change to their side. Alamgir Kabir, who was instrumental in the win against Zimbabwe A earlier this month, has been included at the expense of the left-arm medium pacer Manjurul Islam, who underperformed in the first Test. Bangladesh have room for much improvement, after capitulating in the final third of the Harare match, and their new captain Habibul Bashar will be particularly keen for an upturn in fortunes, after marking his inaugural game in charge with a pair.
"We weren't doing too badly in the first three days, but it all went wrong for us after tea on Sunday," admitted Habibul. "It was just one of those things but we were never in a winning position after Zimbabwe's first innings."
Zimbabwe (probable) 1 Dion Ebrahim, 2 Trevor Gripper, 3 Grant Flower, 4 Stuart Matsikenyeri, 5 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 6 Sean Ervine, 7 Gavin Ewing, 8 Heath Streak (capt), 9 Raymond Price, 10 Douglas Hondo, 11 Blessing Mahwire.
Bangladesh 1 Hannan Sarker, 2 Shahriar Hossain, 3 Habibul Bashar (capt), 4 Rajin Saleh, 5 Mohammad Ashraful, 6 Mushfiqur Rahman, 7 Manjarul Islam Rana, 8 Khaled Mashud (wk), 9 Mohammad Rafique, 10 Tapash Baisya, 11 Alamgir Kabir.