Chigumbura ends run drought

Regis Chakabva and Elton Chigumbura run between the wickets AFP

There were moments during Elton Chigumbura's 88 when Zimbabwe would have thought of overtaking Bangladesh. Even though they were quite a distant away, it was not just Chigumbura's big hitting that was taking them further. Luck too was going his away.

On four occasions, Chigumbura could have been dismissed but either it missed the stumps, fell short of slips, went flying past the wicketkeeper or dropped short of mid-off. He was on 10, 35, 61 and 68, but the misses kept his team going for some more time.

Luck first favoured him when Rubel Hossain got one to nip back at him sharply, only to take an inside edge and give him four. Regis Chakabva then had his outside edge seemingly carry to Mahmudullah at slip. Replays were inconclusive but there was definite reason to believe that the fielder could have stationed himself a few inches in front. Mahmudullah had another flashed towards him, this time Chigumbura on 35. But the ball went away too quickly.

Soon after Zimbabwe had crossed 303, the follow-on mark, Chigumbura edged Taijul Islam and this time too, the ball went to ground as Mushfiqur Rahim didn't get behind the line quickly enought. A bit later, Rubel dived forward at mid-off but Chigumbura's mishit still landed short.

When he was finally dismissed for 88, his highest Test score, he had at least helped Zimbabwe past the follow-on mark and put them within 140 of Bangladesh's total, a position they wouldn't have thought much about when they lost their top-order in the first session of the third day. At the end of the day, he said he was happy to have scored his first half-century this year, the fourth of his career.

"It is always disappointing but everyone wants to reach the milestone," Chigumbura said. "Such is cricket. You have to concentrate until you get it. For me, it was maybe a loose shot. But it was also good to get runs as well."

Chigumbura, who had 42 runs from the first two Tests, was the ninth wicket to fall when Jubair Hossain lured him into a drive but the languid prod resulted in an edge that was pouched by Imrul Kayes at slip. He had struck six fours and two sixes, both over long-on. Only one of those boundaries came in front of the wicket. Chigumbura also kept the scoreboard ticking with 42 singles and five twos. Alongside Chakabva, he ensured the team didn't feel the jolt of a fifth wicket soon after the lunch interval when the score was on 209.

Chigumbura was still confident that the Zimbabwe bowlers can make something out of nothing. There was very little for the spinners on the Chittagong pitch and whatever troubles the batsmen had against Jubair, Taijul and Shakib Al Hasan were due to the bowlers' variations of flight and length. He said that Zimbabwe can still win the game, provided they have a "big day" tomorrow.

"They are leading by 152 so far but it is up to us to come out hard and make sure we restrict them to a lesser score," he said. "We want to keep them to something chasable. It is going to be a big day for us tomorrow in the field."

Chigumbura had been upbeat about his team's chances after the fourth day in the Khulna Test when the team was staring at a 300-run target. Despite the team's position in this Test, he maintained the same outlook.

"You can't play the game to try and have a draw after five days," he said. "We play every game to win. If we get a chance, we will go for it. Any Test match the wicket will change on day four and five. So we just have to manage that, work hard and hopefully we can win this game."