Bangladesh complete morale-boosting victory
Bangladesh XI 199 and 174 beat Zimbabwe A 183 and 161 (Aziz 6-46) by 29 runs
Bangladesh gave themselves a massive morale boost ahead of next week's first Test, by beating Zimbabwe A in a tense finish at the Harare Country Club. After losing their last three wickets for four runs in the morning session, it seemed as though Bangladesh's bubble had burst, but Tareq Aziz popped up with career-best figures of 6 for 46 to seal the win.
Overnight, Bangladesh had led by 186 runs - hardly an advantage to crow about, but an advantage nonetheless, especially in a match where neither side had exceeded 200. But by the time Doug Hondo had torn through their tail, Bangladesh had left themselves much to do to turn the game back around. Hondo needed just two overs to whip out the remaining three wickets for four runs, including Khaled Mashud for his overnight 22.
But the wickets continued to tumble when it came to Zimbabwe's turn to bat. Trevor Gripper and Richard Sims fell for ducks in consecutive deliveries from Aziz, and though Stuart Matsikenyeri and Vusimusi Sibanda added 55 for the third wicket, they too fell in quick succession, as Alamgir Kabir and Manjural Islam got in on the act (72 for 4).
Doug Marillier was next to go, caught behind off Aziz for 4, and Aziz struck a huge blow with his very next delivery, as Zimbabwe's first-innings hero, Gavin Ewing, was bowled for a duck (82 for 6). Travis Friend followed suit four runs later, and when Manjural picked up his second wicket, Zimbabwe were still 80 runs from victory with two wickets remaining.
One of those, however, was the captain Alester Maregwede, who had played extremely sensibly. He received excellent support from the tail, and slowly chewed up the runs required. But it was clearly Aziz's day, and he picked up his sixth wicket - and third bowled of the innings - to send Maregwede on his way for 41. There was yet more resistance to come from Zimbabwe's last pair, but the target was just too far away and Manjural duly completed the victory.