Taibu helps Zimbabwe avert the follow-on
Zimbabwe 308 for 8 (Taibu 92, Chigumbura 71, Rafique 4-64) trail Bangladesh 488 by 180 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
Taibu, who is still only 21 but has already captained Zimbabwe for nine months, deserved a hundred for his efforts. His lack of height had allowed him to stay on the back foot on a wicket where this ploy has proved a fatal on a number of occasions already. But in the end it did for him too: understandably tired after batting for more than six hours, he misread Mohammad Rafique's arm-ball which slipped through to hit his back pad and have him leg-before (308 for 8). It was Taibu's highest score in Tests, and had galvanised his side after they had been 86 for 5 with the follow-on target still 203 runs away.
Taibu carved out 119 for the seventh wicket with Elton Chigumbura, and they put on 81 between lunch and tea. Chigumbura, who had earlier impressed with his energetic bowling, showed that he was no slouch with the bat and negotiated everything thrown at him with a cool head. Bangladesh, meanwhile, were beginning to become frustrated after surrendering the initiative after lunch, and only in the last session did their mood change.
When the new ball was taken after tea, Mohammad Rafique struck with his third deliver by inducing a thin edge from Chigumbura to wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud (271 for 7). As the follow-on target was now 18 runs away, Taibu now freed his arms to get there more quickly. It was almost enough to undo him, but Aftab Ahmed was caught unawares at point when Taibu chased a wide one from Tapash Baisya. The ball clipped his fingers and reached the boundary, and Taibu eased his side's worries soon afterwards when they passed the follow-on target with no further complications.
Earlier Zimbabwe's prospects of batting to the close had looked unlikely when Mashrafe Mortaza struck twice in the morning session to take 2 for 10 from nine overs. Having reduced his pace, he probed outside off stump, and the natural slant of the deliveries troubled the batsmen. Masakadza played all over an incutter from him which sent his off stump cartwheeling in the third over of the day (86 for 5).
This brought Taibu to join Brendan Taylor in the middle. Together, they instigated the first phase of Zimbabwe's resistance with an untroubled stand of 67. Both confidently played the left-arm spin of Rafique, who had been expected to be a dangerous prospect on a wearing track. But the pitch hadn't deteriorated from the second day, and was playing more consistently.
Of the two batsmen, it was Taylor who oozed class. He had greeted Baisya with a glorious on-drive before executing an equally gorgeous off-drive in his next over. Then, just to show that he was equally adept off the back foot, Taylor punched one past cover and then square-cut a four. He didn't make it to teh end of the session though.
Mortaza returned to replace Rafique just before lunch for his second spell and beat Taylor with another ball slanting in, and umpire Asad Rauf, who is standing in his first Test, upheld a vociferous appeal for leg-before (152 for 6). That was the last joy for Bangladesh until the final hour when Rafique removed Chigumbura and Taibu.
Rabeed Imam is a sports writer for the Daily Star in Dhaka.