Zimbabwe XI 3 for 2 (Islam 1-0) and 113 trail Bangladeshis 188 and 147 (Shakib 40, Utseya 3-25) by 220 runs
The Bangladeshis top-order once again spurned their chance to get some good batting practice before the one-off Test match against hosts Zimbabwe. In the only practice game against Zimbabwe XI, Bangladeshis collapsed for 147 in the second innings at the Interfin Bank High Performance ground after they bowled out the home side for just 113 runs on the second day. There was just enough time for the visitors to strike back though, reducing Zimbabwe XI to 3 for 2 before the close of play.
The trio of left-handers at the top of the Bangladeshis' line-up fell cheaply in the second innings, starting with Imrul Kayes, who hasn't played any first-class matches since the Manchester Test last year. He was cleaned up by Keegan Meth off the very first ball of the Bangladeshis' innings, which began after the lunch interval. Next, Junaid Siddique's off stump was blown away by a Kyle Jarvis delivery which he left alone in the fourth over, while Shahriar Nafees was brilliantly caught in the slips by Forster Mutizwa off Njabulo Ncube after he'd made 20 off 41 balls. Mahmudullah played two good shots before he too was caught behind off Tendai Chatara.
Amid all that, Mohammad Ashraful batted sensibly for most of his stay and after he'd cracked his customary boundaries through point, gave Tatenda Taibu a simple catch when he tickled one off Chatara. His 28 off 49 balls, along with the failure of the top order, wouldn't do much to appease the concerns of the new head coach Stuart Law.
Shakib Al Hasan played a lone hand of 40 off 82 balls with the help of four boundaries and his confidence with the willow was the only reason to be happy for the Bangladeshis as far as the batsmen were concerned.
On the second morning, Robiul Islam staked his claim for a Test place after a strong spell as the home side were bowled out for just 113. He and Shafiul Islam picked up three wickets each with the former taking out the left-hander Craig Ervine, who batted for more than an hour for his 21. Ervine looked certain with his judgement, hitting four boundaries during his two-hour stay.
Another positive for Bangladesh was Abdur Razzak's bowling. Though the left-arm spinner bowled just six overs, he did pick up 2 for 20. Shakib didn't bowl in the first innings, but it is likely that the Bangladeshis will go into the Test with a three-man seam attack as Shafiul, Robiul and Nazmul Hossain bowled 39 of the 45 overs needed to bowl out the hosts.