Second Test Match

Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 2000-01

John Ward

Toss: Zimbabwe. Test debut: Enamul Haque.

Another convincing victory gave Zimbabwe their first proper home series win (they beat India in a one-off Test at Harare in 1998-99), but Bangladesh did take the match into the final day and avoided the innings defeat to confirm their steady improvement. This was Zimbabwe's 50th Test match, a landmark that went almost unnoticed locally; Andy Flower and Alistair Campbell had played in all of them, a unique achievement for any country, and Campbell set another record by becoming the first Zimbabwean fielder to take 50 Test catches.

Bangladesh brought in Al-Shahriar Rokon for the injured Khaled Masud and slow left-armer Enamul Haque for seamer Hasibul Hussain, while Zimbabwe also added a left-arm spinner, replacing Murphy with Price. Streak again put Bangladesh in, but although there was some movement it was a much better batting pitch than Harare had tended to offer recently. Zimbabwe's bowling was again disappointing - Price was much the best, flighting the ball impressively - yet Bangladesh were still unable to take full advantage. There were useful fifties, however: Mehrab Hossain anchored the innings for more than five hours, adding 114 with Habibul Bashar for the fourth wicket, and on the second day Akram Khan helped to hold off the home attack until after lunch. Then they lost their last three wickets in 11 balls.

Zimbabwe batted solidly. After a sound opening partnership of 90, Campbell began the third day with fours off each of the first four deliveries, from Manjurul Islam, the first three all pulls to mid-wicket off short balls. There was much interest in whether Andy Flower would beat Everton Weekes by hitting a record eighth consecutive Test fifty, but on 23 he was sent back by Campbell when attempting a risky single, and a fine throw from Javed Omar resulted in only his second run-out in 88 Test innings.

As in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe lost five wickets before taking the lead, whereupon a determined stand between Grant Flower and Streak took a grip on the match; this time they added 133. Streak recorded his fourth fifty in seven matches since becoming captain; before then, he had only two in 31 Tests. He had a century in his sights when he slashed at a wide ball from Mohammad Sharif, walked to a catch to the keeper, and immediately declared.

Needing 167 to avoid an innings defeat, Bangladesh were helped by a resolute second-wicket stand between Omar and Al-Shahriar after losing Mehrab. Another good partnership followed, between Habibul and Akram, but once this was broken, it was only a matter of time. The tail collapsed again, the last four wickets falling for two runs, leaving Zimbabwe exactly 100 to win. Though Bangladesh bowled with great spirit, Whittall, with another positive half-century, was not to be denied. He fell with victory in sight, and two powerful leg-side hits by Carlisle off Naimur Rahman settled the issue.

The tour had gone according to script throughout, Zimbabwe winning all the internationals and gaining valued experience in how to win Tests, even if they did not do so in polished fashion. But Bangladesh also showed that they were learning quickly. This series did good to both teams.

Man of the Match: G. J. Whittall.
Man of the Series: H. H. Streak.

© John Wisden & Co