Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Harare, 4th day April 20, 2013

Feeble batting hurts Bangladesh

There was help for good bowling on the Harare pitch, but Bangladesh's batting was well below what was required for Test cricket

Try to imagine the picture these analyses from Brendan Taylor and Mushfiqur Rahim paint.

"They have struggled in our conditions and we are comfortable at home. When we play them in Bangladesh, we will struggle but we know they are not used to playing on grassy wickets," Taylor said. "We were expecting difficult conditions and good bowling," said the latter.

Does it make you think a pitch like the Wanderers? Or the WACA? Of bowlers swinging it like Dale Steyn or James Anderson? Of bounce that the likes of Mohammed Irfan can extract? If you had been listening to rhetoric like this all week, it might.

Now, here's a little secret. Harare Sports Club is not the Wanderers or the WACA, even with a grass covering on it. It may sound harsh to say Kyle Jarvis and Keegan Meth are not Steyn and Anderson but they are not. They are skilful, improving bowlers and in helpful conditions, they are a handful.

There was assistance for good bowling, but that is not the sole reason Zimbabwe achieved their biggest margin of victory by runs (they have two innings wins to their name as well). When application was needed by the batsmen, Bangladesh were found sadly wanting.

Their shot selection was poor - Mahmudullah's pull to a strategically placed deep midwicket in the second innings was the most glaring example - and they were too easily frustrated by quiet periods. There was some swing and some extra bounce but it was nothing they should not have been able to counter. The question they must ask themselves is why they didn't.

Bangladesh will be criticised for not including a tour match in their schedule for purposes of adapting to conditions but Mushfiqur said he could not put the blame on that. "We had a long tour against Sri Lanka and a few injury concerns so we needed a break. But the tour match is not a big deal, we had five days here before the match.

"I am just really disappointed with the way we played, especially the batting," he added. "We had the technique to cope with that but there were too many soft dismissals especially from the senior players."

Mahmdullah faces the axe with Tamim Iqbal almost back to full fitness, but batsmen like Mohammad Ashfraful, who fought hard for 40 before being run-out, and Shakib-al-Hasan, who was cramped for room, will be expected to do better. Having had the experience of playing on this ground already - which is also where the second Test will be played - Mushfiqur is confident they will. "We'll have a few more days to prepare here," he said.

And so will Zimbabwe's top-order, who also need the time. Taylor aside, as Mushfiqur pointed out, "they didn't have too many batsmen." The openers were out cheaply, which may prompt a change in who partners Vusi Sibanda, and Hamilton Masakadza also found the going tough against Robiul Islam, who enjoyed the conditions as much as Zimbabwe's seamers.

"We know we've got work to do with the batting. We have to make sure we get that right especially at the top," Stephen Mangongo, the interim coach, said. "Overall we needed to work on technique after we were exposed in West Indies. I am happy with the application. There is great desire to improve and we know that we have some work to do."

That was the only area Zimbabwe could be disappointed in, after an impressive all-round showing. Mushfiqur admitted "they outplayed us," in all departments. That they did so by such a large margin was unexpected especially given the turmoil Zimbabwean cricket has been in during the lead up to this series but for Taylor, it was simply a case of hard work paying off.

"We took a lot out of the West Indies tour and I think we needed that experience to give ourselves a wake-up call about how much better we needed to be," he said. "We were taught a lesson there but we are willing to learn and train hard. Our bowlers are putting in the work, our batters are trying hard. We want to carry that into the next Test and better ourselves."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faizan on April 21, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    @ Saud Choudhry Pakistan collapsed time and again, but even then their win/loose ratio is much better even better then India 2ndly the record of Pakistan in thir early years were even not so bad so don't compare BD with Pakistan. Pakistan is much far better team then BD. @ Anwer Chowdhury these are too many lame excuses, think professionally even Australia lost to India recently but no one came with these type of excuses. @khurramsch You are rite ... after one good series.. then its always 3 steps back...

  • Dummy4 on April 21, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    I wouldn't not criticize the players much, rather would criticize the team management and BCB, becoz;1) failing to pick the 3rd seamer in seaming condition, 2) after playing 1 day & t20 matches in low bouncy and flat pitches in SL, then directly sending into the longer version in opposite bouncy pitch without arranging any single practice match, 3) before coming in Zim, failing to arrange a single day practice (should arrange practice in bouncy & swinging pitch), 4) failing to make adequate gap between the SL & Zim trip as the whole team looked exhausted, 5) failed to pick fit players (Shakib,Nafees, Rubel looked unfit), 6) failed to pick inform players like mominul, marshal (wrongly picked mahmudullah), 7) failed to draw attention of ICC for the bias umpiring 8) failed to manage players fitness and injuries, 9) failed to give proper fielding coach & supporting stuffs, and above of all failed to build sporting/bouncy pitch, adequate longer version matches, absence of pacer hunt in home

  • Fraser on April 21, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    What cost bangladesh the game was a lack of intent. Only the openers showed breif glimples of scoring positively and mahmuddlah also tried to score fast BUT his offspin is not good enough to justify a place in the team and neither is his batting. Nasir should not bat at no7 he shuld bat at least no5and a middle order of shakib,nasir,mushi sounds much more solid than mahmuddlah,shakib,mushi.

  • khurram on April 21, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    @saud: collapsing is normal. most teams do collapse some times, But mostly against bigger teams. Over here, BD was the fav 1 to win. and after their impressive show in SL 1st test no body would have thought they will go down so badly. so far in many years in test cricket they havent done anything remarkable. its 1 step forward and 3 steps backwards for them. may be an overhaul in domestic circuit will help. plus they need to stop depending too much on spinners.

  • Abu on April 21, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    Well!there are innumerable problem with BD cricket team;where do you want to start;the team structure; no team players; concentration level is low; captain does not show any leadership what so ever when they are in the field;every player is yelling out tips to the bowlers laughing and giggling losing focus on concentration at hand;appeal for the sake of appeal I mean they make a mockery out of appeals;the batsman do not show any heart or intelligence all they want to do is hit boundaries ether lazy to run or afraid of the fast bowlers;you never see the batsman plays the fast bowlers on the front foot;none of the batsman have any foot work;Faizans hit it right on the nail that BD players think that are at the top of the world;BD should be out of test cricket let them play ODI's and T20's and get a skipper who could be a leader and not a pusher;people have mentioned Shakib or Tamim and few others none of these guys are sound cricketers if they don't practice the right way giving 100%.

  • Hammad on April 21, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    I think Bangladesh made mistake in their team selection. They should play with 3 seamers on this track. They used only 2 seamers and 5 spinners. They need to understand that outside subcontinent spiners come into play in 4th and 5th day. On the other hand Zimabwe used 4 seamers and their only spinner came on 4th day to pickup wickets. Bangladesh need to select team as per the conditons.

  • dinush on April 21, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Bangladesh proved yet again that they don't deserve a place in test cricket.....no other team in the history was given with so many opportunities yet failed so many times....this match has reminded me of the old Zimbabwe team with greats like Andy flower, grant flower, heath streak , cambell....sad that Zimbabwe had to go on a slump, but still they look good. More opportunities should be given to them.

  • Dummy4 on April 20, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    I am still shell shocked. After their recent decent showings, this wasn't expected. But then, this is cricket and teams like Pakistan has collapsed time and again. Maybe we will be able to put this behind us. Tomorrow is another day. Lets make it bright and sunny. Go Tigers.

  • Nipam on April 20, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    rather than focussing on what BD did wrong, the Zimbabweans,Taylor particular, should be given the due credit for going in with these young hungry players who seem much moe discliplined then their BD counterparts. BD seems to blow hot and cold within mater of minutes....always going to struggle in these kind of wickets where their left arm spinners are neutralized.

  • Anupam on April 20, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    Let me say this again, Bangladesh was rushed to Test cricket and do not deserve to play test cricket even now. Zimbabwe were a much better team though not right now. Bangladesh will still win a short form match here and there in subcontinental conditions but they are not a force to reckon with in any form of cricket. They have handful of good players like Shakib, Nasir, Razzak and Tamim and otherwise they are a weak team. They will be thrashed by most of the team including India and NZ today.

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