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The Bulletin by Rabeed Imam
January 17, 2005
Bangladesh 211 and 98 for 0 (Iqbal 55* Omar 36*) need 276 more runs to beat Zimbabwe 298 and 286 (Taibu 153, Taylor 78, Enamul 5-105)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Taibu's 153, which could yet prove be a match-winning one, spanned 292 balls and included 19 fours and two glorious sixes and put Zimbabwe in a position to win the match. It was particularly special as he rescued the team from a dangerous position - they were struggling at 37 for 4 on the third day - and displayed a wonderful range of strokes once he reached his hundred. It was fitting he reached his century with a sweep, his most productive stroke of the innings, before cutting loose. He swept and pulled Enamul for two sixes and lofted effortlessly over the infield. Bangladesh were handicapped by the availability of only three frontline bowlers with Mashrafe Mortaza picking up a hamstring injury.
Douglas Hondo contributed only 3 in a 65-run stand for the ninth wicket but it was a valuable knock as Taibu toyed with the bowlers and regularly jumped out of the crease while facing the medium pacers. In the last over before lunch, Enamul had Hondo caught at short leg but by then Zimbabwe had a healthy lead. Enamul, the star in the series for Bangladesh, then snapped up Taibu's wicket to finish with 12 in the match and a third successive five-wicket haul.
Both openers dug in deep as runs came at an dreadfully slow rate. Nafis, playing the best innings of his short career, dealt with every ball on merit. Both negotiated a tricky 23-over phase before tea, when they added 36, and Omar survived a lucky reprieve when he was on 5 when Hamilton Masakadza grassed a straightforward chance at first slip off Chris Mpofu. Soon after he survived two extremely close lbw shouts and escaped a close run-out chance.
Taibu shuffled his seamers after tea but the batsmen were up to the challenge. Nafis grew in confidence as his innings progresses and soon opened up as he pierced the cover region with a couple of wonderful drives. Graeme Cremer and Stuart Matsikenyeri, the two spinners, didn't make too much of an impact with the batsmen taking no risks and Nafis soon brought up his third fifty in Tests by lofting one over widish long-on.
Taibu grew increasingly desperate, trying eight bowlers to break the partnership but for the first time in this Test, Bangladesh dominated an entire session. Both batsmen played out 57 overs either side of tea and any one of four results is possible on what should be a fascinating final day.
Rabeed Imam is a sports writer for the Daily Star in Dhaka.
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