Second Test

Bangladesh v Zimbabwe

Utpal Shuvro

At Dhaka, January 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 2005. Drawn. Toss: Zimbabwe.

After their Chittagong triumph, Bangladesh ran into trouble in Dhaka. At the end of the third day, coach Dav Whatmore candidly declared "Zimbabwe will win, unless our batsmen do something special." The tourists were 290 ahead with four second-innings wickets left; Bangladesh eventually needed 374 to win - or to survive five sessions to ensure their first series victory.

When they batted out time, a delighted Whatmore announced that this draw was better than a win: it proved Bangladesh could occupy the crease when required, a significant step forward. There was even a chance of victory when their openers reached 98 by the end of the fourth day. A last-day target of 276 looked achievable, but they rejected the risk. "We were the leaders in the series: they had to chase us," said Whatmore.

A dramatic Test showcased two young talents. Zimbabwean captain Taibu batted brilliantly to accumulate 238 runs for once out. He deservedly won the match award, but had a strong rival in Enamul Haque junior, who scaled new heights to rewrite his own national record, from the previous match, with seven for 95. In all, he collected 12 for 200. No Bangladeshi had previously taken more than seven in a Test.

Taibu chose to bat on a benign pitch. Zimbabwe threatened to get away, but were pegged back by Enamul, and ended on 298, with Taibu himself stranded on 85. Bangladesh's reply started strongly, but struck disaster when Hondo found unexpected reverse swing with a relatively new ball. Bowling unchanged for 17 overs, he took the first six wickets with only 107 on the board. It took a fighting fifty from Mohammad Rafique, batting with rebellious abandon despite a hamstring injury, to get Bangladesh past 200, and they trailed by 87.

A fiery spell from Mashrafe bin Mortaza reduced Zimbabwe to 37 for four second time around before Taibu and Taylor forged a 150-run stand. But once Enamul rattled Taylor's stumps, the wickets started falling again. Taibu had survived a run-out chance on 53 and was dropped at slip on 67, but stood firm to reach his maiden Test hundred. He added 67 for the ninth wicket with Hondo, whose contribution was three. Taibu was last out for a monumental 153 in 340 minutes and 292 balls. Some astonishing shots brought him 19 fours and two sixes, both off Enamul, and gave Zimbabwe a real chance of levelling the series.

But Javed Omar and Nafis Iqbal dug in for a glorious rearguard action, batting two sessions on the fourth day and bringing up Bangladesh's first century opening partnership next morning. They were finally separated on 133, after 83 overs. Though Bangladesh declined to chase the target, Iqbal advanced to his first Test century to ensure the draw and a historic series win.

Man of the Match: T. Taibu.

Man of the Series: Enamul Haque, jun.

© John Wisden & co.