April 22, 2001

Zimbabwe win by an innings despite Javed Omar's heroics

Zimbabwe wrapped up their first Test victory at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo 15 balls into the afternoon session of the fourth day, beating Bangladesh by an innings and 32 runs. Their pacemen did the damage, despite bowling too many loose deliveries, and their only serious obstacle was opener Javed Omar, who carried his bat through the innings for 85, the first player to do so on his debut for over 100 years and only the third in history.

Play started 25 minutes early due to the early stoppage on the third evening, with Bangladesh 91 for two. Javed Omar, helped again by too many inaccurate deliveries from Zimbabwe's pace bowlers, soon moved from 47 to the second 50 of his Test debut.

Aminul Islam, though, was not content to feed off the diet of leg-side balls coming the batsmen's way and, lashing at a short ball from Streak outside the off stump, he was caught for 11 by Ebrahim running in from third man. Akram Khan scored a laborious eight before flicking Andy Blignaut behind square leg directly at the same fielder who made a very sharp chance look easy. Naimur Rahman (six) soon followed, pushing a return catch to Mluleki Nkala, and Bangladesh were 129 for four, still 71 behind, and with Khaled Mashud not expected to bat with a broken ankle.

The tail was now in, and Mushfiqur Rahman made only two before being caught in the slips off Brighton Watambwa, while Hasibul Hussain (six), determined to do or die, managed both before snicking the third ball he faced to third slip off Heath Streak. Mohammed Sharif (eight) lasted just 12 balls before being out to a sharp catch in the gully by Grant Flower off Blignaut, when perhaps the tail-enders should have made more effort to support Javed, who was approaching a debut century.

Last man Manjural Islam (six) also showed little desire to knuckle down and see Javed through to his century, and after being dropped by Andy Flower, a very difficult chance off a skied hook, he pushed a return catch to Blignaut, leaving the opener stranded on 85. He did, however, have the consolation of entering the record books and winning a rare Man of the Match award for a player from a team that had just suffered an innings defeat.

Bangladesh, despite their innings defeat, were not humiliated, while Zimbabwe were perhaps flattered by the margin of their fourth victory in 49 Tests. They would be wise to seek more consistency in all departments of the game in the second match due to start at Harare Sports Club on Thursday.