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Firdose Moonda in Harare
April 25, 2013
When cricket no longer pays Tamim Iqbal's bills, he should look for work as a raconteur because that was exactly how he dealt with the media after the first day's play. He could afford to because Bangladesh are in what he calls an "even," position and most of their blushes were saved by a big partnership of 123 between Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Better still, Tamim's comments about the Zimbabwean attack and Kyle Jarvis, in particular, being "ordinary," in 2011, did not come back to bite him. In truth, Jarvis looked decidedly so and Tamim could not hold back a smile when he was asked if he still thought of him as nothing more than mediocre.
"I knew this was coming," Tamim said. "Even if I make a thousand comments now, it is never going to change. Look, Jarvis is a good bowler. He is a very good bowler. But I don't want to tell him he is a good bowler because I am the opposition."
As long as no-one tells Tamim this is a public site, he won't have to realise that his showering of compliments on Zimbabwe's spearhead is known to all who read it and will wash away some of the string from two years ago. "Jarvis has improved a lot and he is now the best bowler in their team," he said.
Today, that could come across backhanded. Zimbabwe's bowlers were woeful on a surface that was supposed to suit them. Elton Chigumbura admitted it did a lot less than they expected it to do when they decided to field first and when they saw that, they grew anxious. "It was a bit soft in the morning and we didn't hit the right areas. When that happened, we also got a bit impatient," Chigumbura said. "It's a much better wicket than in the first Test."
Runs came easily and the bowlers looked unthreatening, so much so that none of them could lay claim to Tamim's scalp. He ran himself out in search of his 50th run and accepted that it was an irresponsible decision to opt for a quick single. "My wicket was a disgrace," he said. "It was, maybe a rush of blood or something like that. It was a very stupid dismissal."
It was not the only one. The rest of Bangladesh's top five also gifted Zimbabwe wickets and for that Tamim was regretful. "We all gave our wickets away, except the captain at the end. It really wasn't doing that much," he said. "If we had only lost four wickets, that would have been ideal for us but 300 on this ground is worth 375 on other grounds because it's a slow outfield so that's why I say we are pretty even."
Zimbabwe helped that with a poor display in the field which Chigumbura had no explanation for. Tamim offered his, though. "I'm telling you there is something in this ground. If you look at the first Test, we dropped a catch in the first over and then they did and now they did again," he said, grinning.
"But catches are something that helped us, it's something we have to be serious about when we are in the field. We don't want to give them any chances, like we did with [Brendan] Taylor in the first match."
They also don't want to give away any chances when batting on the second morning. Tamim is eyeing 400 as a target while Zimbabwe are hopeful of nipping out the last four wickets cheaply. "If we can bowl well and get them out for less than 50 runs that would be good. Less than 350 will be good for us," Chigumbura said. "Then, if we can apply ourselves with the bat, we can get a big score on that wicket."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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