Meth vows to play through pain
Keegan Meth has resolved to play through the pain as he battles a right knee injury in a bid to ensure Zimbabwe win the series against Bangladesh. The swing bowler left the field after delivering six overs on the second morning, which was a significant effort under the circumstances.
"I could barely walk last night but I managed to get through it this morning," Meth said. "It's a problem with the patella (knee-cap) and I've taken a painkiller injection and sorted out most of the inflammation because there was a quite a bit. I've had the injury before and this seems to be a recurrence of it. It didn't last too long the last time I had it so hopefully it will come right."
Meth has bowled long spells throughout the series, including a nine-over one on the first day and thinks that may have exacerbated his condition. "Bowling a lot of overs does put a lot of stress on it and that seems to have triggered it off again," he said.
It may limit his movement somewhat, but the niggle will not alter his resolve. Meth has vowed to bowl as much as he is needed and bat in his regular position because of his desire to do well in the longest format. "There is not a lot of Test cricket to come after this, so it's just a case of getting through it," he said.
Zimbabwe play Bangladesh in three ODIs and two Twenty20s in this series but do not play another Test until August against Sri Lanka. Meth, who is only in his second Test, has impressed with his ability to move the ball both ways.
In this match, he has also had to play a leading role as his seam-bowling partner Kyle Jarvis looked off colour, and it was one he embraced and blossomed in. "I know my role pretty well which is to try and take wickets upfront and hold up an end later on. With Kyle not hitting his areas, it puts a bit more pressure on the other guys," he said.
Zimbabwe conceded 41 runs more than they were hoping to on the second morning, after struggling to make inroads on the first day. They found themselves further disadvantaged by their batting blunders but two half-century partnerships, one of which is still on-going, put them back on track but they are still chasing the game.
"We're behind the game at the moment and we understand that," Meth said. "But that's one of the reasons we've picked four allrounders in the side - so that we bat quite deep. It was good to see a bit of counter-attack by our batsmen so I wouldn't say we are out of it. The first thing we have to do is pass the follow-on."
Thirty-four runs separate them from the follow-on target but even if they get there, Bangladesh will still aim for a big first-innings lead. Meth hopes the batsmen will be able to "take time out of the game," but emphasised that whatever happens, the bowlers will have a lot of work in the next innings.
"We know they will put themselves in a position to win and by doing that, we might have the chance to knock them over. With these guys, we know if they are not scoring, rash shots will come. If we are taking wickets, we could put ourselves in a position to win."
If they can set themselves up like that, Meth advises emulating from Bangladesh's leading wicket-taker Robiul Islam. "He has found his rhythm and what we can learn from is that he has hit the right areas. He has found a very good length and he hasn't let the guys settle down," Meth said.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent