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May 3, 2013
Ziaur Rahman whose five-wicket haul helped Bangladesh crush Zimbabwe by 121 runs - their biggest margin of victory against the opponents - said that his initial target was to bowl two dot balls per over against the Zimbabwe batsmen.
Picked as a third seamer behind Robiul Islam and Shafiul Islam, Ziaur would have been pleased with completing a full quote of ten overs. Instead, he was the leading wicket-taker in the game, extending his streak from the four-wicket haul in the last innings of the second Test in Harare.
"I wanted to bowl at least two dot balls per over," Ziaur said. "The batsmen would be under pressure if they were kept quiet, and that is exactly what happened."
"I bowled wicket-to-wicket. The captain told me to bowl as straight as possible, and wait for them to make mistakes. All I wanted to do was cut down the runs, even if I didn't get a wicket."
He is the fourth Bangladeshi pace bowler to pick up a five-wicket haul. Mashrafe Mortaza and Farhad Reza are regular bowlers but there was also a five-for from Aftab Ahmed against New Zealand in 2004.
Though not of the same quality, Ziaur hasn't been picked predominantly as a bowler in international cricket. A knee condition stopped him from being an out-and-out pace bowler three years ago and he has since worked on his batting and focused on becoming an allrounder.
"But I didn't leave bowling altogether. I couldn't bowl fast due to my knee injury. I worked on my batting at the time, so now I can do both properly," he said. "I have been bowling well off late, so I had the confidence in myself. I think the lines were good, and the wicket helped too. But I never thought I would take four or five wickets in an innings," he said.
There was disbelief in the Zimbabwe camp too, though about a different issue. Their captain, Brendan Taylor, was at a loss of words while describing how his side were bowled out in the 33rd over.
"I don't know what to say really. The Bangladesh bowlers bowled well, they bowled stump-to-stump. That is what we expected, but they did not bowl anything that would get the majority of our batsmen out, the batsmen somehow found ways to get out.
"We have been saying the same thing for the last two months now. After the tour of West Indies, we said that the batsmen must play straight, but they got out today playing across the line. There were too many batsmen bowled on a good pitch."
He was also slightly critical of the bowlers, though he said that 260 was the sort of score which could have been chased successfully on this wicket. "I had said that 280 is a chaseable score on this ground, but I still think we gave away too many today. Having said that, we will take 260 against Bangladesh on this pitch; it's the batting that let us down," he said.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
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