April 30, 2001

Zimbabwe coast to eight-wicket win over Bangladesh

Zimbabwe won the Second Test match against Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club in mid-afternoon on the fifth day, by a margin of eight wickets. They bowled out the tourists for 265 and knocked off the 100 needed to win without undue trouble, for the loss of their openers. This was Zimbabwe's fifth Test victory in exactly 50 matches, Andy Flower and Alistair Campbell having playing in them all, and their first proper series win at home, excluding their one-off victory over India in 1998/99.

Bangladesh began the day steadily but again lost a vital wicket just as they were looking settled, Habibul Bashar (76) chasing a ball from Heath Streak that moved away to be caught at the wicket. Then Naimur Rahman (36), who had been looking determined and solid, attempted a second run to Gavin Rennie, substituting for Andy Blignaut who had a leg injury, and was run out. Bangladesh, at 264 for seven and only the tail left, appeared to be on their way out.

As usual the tail did not last long. Enamul Haque (3) soon followed, caught at the wicket off Brighton Watambwa; Mohammad Sharif (0) was caught in the slips off Streak, and then Monjurul (0) snicked Watambwa to the keeper. Mushfiqur Rahman was unbeaten on 2 as Bangladesh were dismissed for 266, leaving Zimbabwe exactly 100 to win. Watambwa returned the best bowling figures with four for 64.

Bangladesh fought hard and Guy Whittall at times seemed to be playing the ball with his midriff as often as his bat. But their bowlers are not as lethal as Courtney Walsh and Co in the Caribbean a year ago, and the openers survived until lunch. Then immediately afterwards they managed to achieve their fourth run-out of the match, casual running and fine fielding from Javed Omer at third man resulting in the dismissal of Dion Ebrahim for 10.

Eight runs short of victory, Whittall was bowled for 60, attempting a big hit off Enamul Hoque that turned out of the rough, but two powerful leg-side hits by Stuart Carlisle settled the issue.