StumpsBangladesh 294 for 8 (Das 95, Haque 70, Mahmudullah 54*, Muzarabani 3-48) vs Zimbabwe
Bangladesh recovered from two difficult situations to finish the first day of the one-off Test on 294 for 8 in Harare. Zimbabwe, who dominated the first two sessions by reducing the visitors to 132 for 6, conceded the early advantage by thrusting a slow period upon them in the post-tea session. They took two late wickets, notably removing Liton Das on 95, but couldn't quite put the finishing touches as the day's play was called off after 83 overs amid fading light.
After Blessing Muzarabani and Victor Nyauchi put them in trouble, the visitors were brought back to life with a 138-run seventh wicket partnership between Das and Mahmudullah. Against Zimbabwe, it was Bangladesh's first century stand - and the highest by any pair at the Harare Sports Club - for the seventh wicket.
Das would rue playing one too many pull shots against Donald Tiripano shortly before the second new ball was available. He was caught at the fine-leg boundary after crossing his previous Test best score of 94. Tiripano trapped Mehidy Hasan Miraz lbw off the next ball. Zimbabwe gave away much of their momentum in a period they used part-timers Milton Shumba and Roy Kaia for 24 overs. They deployed the duo with a view to giving their four-pronged pace attack a break, as well as recovering their poor over rate. In the first four hours, they had bowled only 49 overs.
Das feasted on the tired attack, but some of his shots stood out. Among his 13 fours were two beautiful cover drives, three drives through midwicket and an upper cut through a vacant third-man. A slog sweep off Shumba took him to his half-century and Bangladesh to 200, before another easy glance off Kaia brought up the century stand between them.
Mahmudullah, in his first Test after 18 months, played the quintessential second fiddle. Undeterred by his No. 8 batting position, he took stock of Bangladesh's situation at 132 for 6 and initiated a rebuild with Das. Mahmudullah was mostly conservative, hitting five fours, two of which exquisitely pierced the covers. He also flicked one through midwicket and plundered the fine-leg region at will. He was unbeaten on 54 off 141 balls at stumps.
A more energetic Zimbabwe dominated the first two sessions of the opening day, making Bangladesh struggle to justify their decision to bat first after winning the toss. Within the first 30 minutes, the visitors were reduced to 8 for 2. Muzarabani removed both Saif Hassan and Najmul Hossain Shanto in an exhibition of quick, hostile fast bowling.
Bangladesh got back on their feet courtesy a 60-run third-wicket partnership between Mominul Haque and Shadman Islam, which was followed up by more recovery work from Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim. Shortly after the lunch break, though, Zimbabwe wrested back the momentum.
Muzarabani had Rahim lbw, shouldering arms, for 11. Replays showed the ball may have gone over the stumps but without DRS in this game, the on-field umpire's decision couldn't be contested.
Nyauchi then struck the big blows: Shakib Al Hasan caught behind for 3 and Mominul Haque caught at gully for 70. Haque, the Bangladesh captain, struck 13 fours in his 92-ball knock, getting most of his boundaries through midwicket. His dismissal put Bangladesh in a precarious 132 for 6 in the second session, leaving much to do for Das and Mahmudullah.
Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Zimbabwe
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84