First Test

Bangladesh v Zimbabwe

At Dhaka, November 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Drawn. Toss: Zimbabwe. Test debuts: Khaled Mahmud, Mashrafe bin Mortaza.

After suffering five consecutive defeats since gaining Test status, Bangladesh finally achieved a draw. But they owed their thanks to the rain god: not a single ball was bowled on the last two days. Bangladesh still trailed by 199, with seven second-innings wickets left, and it was unlikely that they could have avoided another thrashing without the persistent bad weather.

Rain intervened from the very beginning. Bangladesh scored just three runs in the seven overs possible before lunch, after Murphy asked them to bat. In the afternoon, the seamers fully exploited the lateral movement and extra bounce: the overcast conditions seemed to transform Bangladesh's own backyard into an alien environment, and all the home batsmen struggled. Their lowest Test total, 90 against Sri Lanka two months earlier, looked a long way off at 56 for eight. But their No. 10, Enamul Haque, supervised the addition of 51 for the remaining two wickets. The last man Manjurul Islam saw them into three figures; even so, Bangladesh were shot out in 48.2 overs.

Manjurul struck back that evening, taking a wicket in each of his first two overs, and the Bangladeshi bowlers continued their good work next morning, despite what seemed perfect batting conditions, under a blazing sun. When Enamul bowled Andy Flower, the top five had been sent packing with only 89 on the board. Yet Zimbabwe still managed to amass a huge lead. Wishart and Marillier put on 137 for the sixth wicket, before Wishart was run out in the nineties for the second time in his Test career. Streak and Friend then added 108 for the eighth. Marillier contributed a career-best 73, Streak extended his Test record against Bangladesh to three half-centuries in three innings, and Friend followed up his first five-for in Tests with a maiden fifty, which became a fine 81. The chief consolation for the home side came from the teenaged Mashrafe bin Mortaza, who took four wickets on debut, generated good pace and troubled all the Zimbabwean batsmen.

Resuming 324 behind, Bangladesh batted much better. Habibul Bashar scored his fifth fifty in his sixth Test and built a determined century partnership with Javed Omar. Together, they spurred Bangladesh into a position to fight back - though both fell before the close, leaving them with little chance of saving the game. But next day, the heavens opened. Zimbabwe's bad luck was compounded when their captain, Murphy, fractured a finger in the nets and was forced to go home.

Man of the Match: T. J. Friend.
Close of play: First day, Zimbabwe 20-2 (Carlisle 10, G. W. Flower 6); Second day, Zimbabwe 348-7 (Streak 57, Friend 38); Third day, Bangladesh 125-3 (Aminul Islam 6, Mohammad Ashraful 0); Fourth day, No play.

© John Wisden & Co