Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, Only Test, Harare, 5th day August 8, 2011

An historic occasion but an understated celebration

Zimbabwe were giddy in the immediate aftermath of beating Bangladesh on their return to Test cricket, but there were no over-the-top celebrations

Had the stadium been full, the stage higher, the series longer or the occasion a little bigger, this would still not have been a shred more special than it was. At the Harare Sports Club, in front of little more than 150 people, Zimbabwe made history.

Thankfully, no one could complain that the music wasn't loud enough. If anything creates atmosphere, especially in Africa, its beats, melodies, harmonies, drums, voices and rhythms. It's the sound of protest, of the army training in the early morning, of sadness, of hope and today, of joy. As Zimbabwe claimed the last wicket, minutes after lunch, Kool and the Gang told them to "celebrate good times, come on".

Then, as the players began their victory lap, a Shona song, filled with all the familiar jingles of traditional music, was played. While the team went around the field, Zimbabwean flags being used as capes, their clapping hands adding to the music and they were received like conquering warriors. Unlike so many of the country's battles, this one was not bloody but it still involved some bravery, a heap of commitment and above all, passion.

The word has been used with such regularity by cricketers that allowing it to describe what has happened over the past five days seems somewhat artificial. There is something more sincere about its Zimbabwean form; it's not bullish, like South Africa's "We're no chokers," stance or theatrical like MS Dhoni's references to car and engines during the World Cup. It's raw and that's what makes it real.

The players drenched each other in any alcoholic beverage they could find but after the post-match press conference, things settled down. The first to make his appearance was the coach, Alan Butcher, wearing a collared, blue shirt, having removed his beer drenched training kit. He strolled across the boundary, popped across to the open area and sat down to sip on white wine. Ray Price followed, his three-year old daughter on his hip. Chris Mpofu was next, a colourful scarf around his neck and sunglasses covering his eyes. Brendan Taylor joined up with his girlfriend, Craig Ervine and 12th man Malcolm Waller had a drink at the bar and eventually Heath Streak, in shorts and a t-shirt, and Alistair Campbell sat on the deck, engaged in a casual chat.

The Maiden pub continued serving its regular clientele, many of whom didn't seem to care that a victorious national team was celebrating at the same venue. Burgers were served and eaten, beers were drunk, cigarettes were smoked and in the far corner, pool was played. If ever anyone wondered why Zimbabwe cricketers are so humble, they need only look at this scene to understand it.

There were a couple of well-dones said and hands shaken, but what it was really about was normal people having a relaxing time. In any other country it may have been the scene of the aftermath of a club match. Had it been any different, it would have lost that little something that made it so special.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 10, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Wonderful, really marvellous. More of the same for the ODIs?

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    Well DONE ZImbabwe. Hope they become the force they once were when Heath streak,Flower Bros, Neil Johnson were there. Test Cricket needs tough teams for it to prosper

  • Alan on August 9, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    Zimbabwe's achievement certainly merits a lot more attention. However, I can't help thinking that the way things are in world cricket at the moment this result will largely be noticed worldwide in order to draw attention to alleged weaknesses in Bangladesh cricket. With India already so reluctant to tour Bangladesh, I think this will lead to more dismissive attitudes to Bangladesh among the more powerful countries in test cricket and a greater reluctance to play against them. I don't condone that response, which represents hypocrisy and conceit on the part of cricket's Great Powers: it's not so long ago that England in particularly had a similar attitude to Sri Lanka, even after Sri Lanka had won the world cup (something England have never done). I can't help thinking that, unfortunately, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will find themselves playing tests very largely exclusively against each other for some time to come

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    Zimbabwe showd great tenacity and character which must now be consolidated.I also want to wish them good luck in ODIs series.Hard work and mental strength will do the trick

  • Muhammad Rakibul on August 9, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    Congratz Zimbabwe (from Bangladeshi). U've taught a good lesson to arrogant Tamim & Shakib. They must learn something from Zimbos. I hope u'll do better in ODIs . It's need for BD & BCB too. They've become overconfident these days & BCB is eager to introduced a MASALA cricket competition BPL (copying IPL) without emphasizing on First class 4-day matches. It must b a lesson for them.

  • Amit on August 9, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    good to see zim wining there 9th test.

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    @Arun Don... what do u mean when u say"Few of u guys hav serious talent" ?? i am tired of pple continuosly saying Bang has talent... according to me there is no such thing as talent when cannot perfom as a team coz cricket is a team effort. i have heard pple say the windies and banga's are more talented than the New Zealanders bt in all honest that is what is making them loose a lot of matches, this lie that they are good and talented when they are really not.They are a bunch of below avg cricketers who try to play fancy cricket shots and get out in the proces.

  • VINEET on August 9, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    Well it is again proved how good sub-continent fast bowlers are!!!Well done Zimbabwe & All The Best for ODI series.......

  • Vinod on August 9, 2011, 3:16 GMT

    "CONGRATS" to Zimbos. Keep up the hard work.

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2011, 2:41 GMT

    Hi guys whose position do you prefer. Sean Ervine playing in England counties or Craig Ervine winning a Test here after long wait.Hi guys whose position do you prefer. Sean Ervine playing in England counties or Craig Ervine winning a Test here after long wait.

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