The second One-Day International between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh began under cloudy skies, but with no immediate prospect of rain. Zimbabwe in their 50 overs were able to manage only 230 for seven, but the conditions made fast scoring very difficult; Bangladesh were never able to mount a challenge and were dismissed for 103.

Alistair Campbell
Campbell - 103 runs
Photo AFP

The pitch for the day was closer cut than that for the first match, so was expected to be a little more favourable for batting, although the thick outfield remained a handicap. However, due to the underlying moisture it was again likely to help the seamers early on, and by winning the toss for the second time Bangladesh had the chance to make amends for their error of Saturday and this time put Zimbabwe in to bat. It is unfortunate that on this ground the toss should so often be crucial to the course of the match.

Zimbabwe played the same team, while Bangladesh made the surprising move of dropping their one Test centurion Aminul Islam to bring in all-rounder Mehrab Hossain, in an effort to strengthen their bowling.

Alistair Campbell made a good start by pulling the second ball from Monjurul Islam to the boundary, but when the bowlers put the ball in the right place the batsmen struggled at first. Two fine straight drives by Campbell were so slowed by the outfield that they failed to reach the boundary, and it was obvious that the aerial route would be more profitable if they could avoid the fielders. The bowling was not quite consistently accurate enough to put the batsmen under pressure to score, and the opening pair managed three an over before Whittall (16) holed out to long leg with the score on 49.

As Stuart Carlisle joined Campbell the scoring rate gradually moved up to four, reached at the same time as the century partnership. Runs came in a mixture of steady accumulation and big hits, Carlisle reaching his fifty with a six off the long-suffering Naimur Rahman before skying a big hit to the keeper to depart for 56; 182 for two, and the partnership of 133 was the second-best for Zimbabwe's second wicket in one-day internationals. Alistair Campbell lashed the next ball through extra cover for his seventh Test century, but then holed out to long-on for 103.

Wickets then fell in a flurry as the batsmen were prepared to sacrifice everything in the chase for runs, but with limited success, as the bowlers managed to keep matters under control and the conditions hindered quick scoring. But Bangladesh would have to bat magnificently to win.

However, the Bangladesh top order again failed against the Zimbabwe seamers, two wickets falling for nine runs and four for 41, altogether two umpiring decisions were perhaps dubious: Al-Shahriar's lbw may have been a little high, while Meerab Hossain was caught at the wicket off a ball from Streak that was above shoulder height. Streak in fact had an unimpressive and inconsistent opening spell.

Naimur Rahman (25) tried gallantly to fight his way out of trouble but he chopped a ball from Dirk Viljoen on to his stumps, to make Bangladesh 76 for five. Then came a steady decline, with opening batsman Javed Omar rock-solid at one end and the tail declining steadily. At one stage the scoreboard briefly named the two current batsmen as Omar and Sharif, but the latter (Mohammad of that name) quickly perished without scoring.

The hundred came up with the last pair together but the innings closed for 103 in the 31st over, giving Zimbabwe victory by 127 runs. Omar became the first batsman to carry his bat through an innings against Zimbabwe, and finished on 33.

It was a disappointing two days for Bangladesh, whose great problem was their inexperience. There were perhaps in the region of 3,000 spectators on each day and they had the pleasure of seeing their team win, but the cricket was not the most entertaining, and for that the disappointing state of the ground was largely responsible.