Brendan Taylor has blamed Zimbabwe's poor batting as the reason for their narrow loss in the first Test against Bangladesh. Defending a target of 101, Zimbabwe picked up the first three wickets with the score on zero and would have improved their chances further had John Nyumbu taken the catches of Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah. But despite Zimbabwe's fight, Bangladesh sneaked through for a three-wicket win.
"We have been saying 150 would have been very interesting," Taylor said. "But at the end of the day, we batted badly and did not deserve to win the game.
"They could have been 10 for 5 but that's the way it goes. If we could have got Shakib there and (Mahmudullah) Riyad, that would have been a big difference. Good teams and good fielders will take those chances and probably we didn't have our best fielder there at that time."
In the first innings, only one Zimbabwe batsman went past fifty as the team was bowled out for 240. Led by Tinashe Panyangara's five-wicket haul, the visitors managed to restrict Bangladesh's lead to 14 but when it came to their batsmen to set up the game, they fared worse than the first innings. Zimbabwe lost seven wickets in the morning session and were soon bowled out for 114 in 35.5 overs.
"Losing the match always hurts," Taylor said. "We can be proud of the way we fought and tried to defend a 100 runs but being bowled out for 114, that's what hurts the most. We were very disappointing. The way we got out, we didn't really show any fight. At the end of the day, if we are not going to put runs on the board and put a prize on our wickets, we are not going to win too many games. So we have got a lot to learn from this game. But I can assure you that in the second game the guys will be a lot more disciplined, lot hungrier to succeed."
The bounce on the Dhaka pitch that should have helped strokeplay, according to Taylor, was also the reason for the downfall of batsmen from both sides. But while Zimbabwe's batsmen faltered against spin, Bangladesh's players were undone by pace.
"It was a good cricket wicket. Pace and bounce and turn, that's going to make entertaining cricket, but definitely bad batting will have to be the case," Taylor said. "I think we can agree that both sides batted badly, there were soft dismissals and guys didn't apply themselves. Twenties and thirties are not going to win you Test matches. Guys need to convert those."
After the first innings in which Bangladesh spinners shared nine wickets, a lot of focus was on how Zimbabwe's inexperienced spinners were going to bowl. But despite the help available from the pitch, the two spinners - Nyumbu and Tafadzwa Kamungozi - had just one wicket between them in the match.
"I think our two spinners were a little bit weak," Taylor said. "But unfortunately we lost two very good players, Sean Williams and Prosper Utseya, but that is not an excuse. Our spinners haven't played a lot of first-class cricket and they weren't good enough today. So they have got a lot to learn. Hopefully there might be a change in the second Test match. "
Legspinner Natsai M'shangwe, who picked up the most wickets in the only practice match in Fatullah, could be an option. But Taylor said that the team was waiting for the bowler to recover from a minor niggle.
"There is a very good chance (of M'shangwe playing in the second Test)," Taylor said. "He has been carrying a bit of a niggle so whether he is ready to go or not, I am not too sure. We will have to make a few changes and not become too predictable."
Zimbabwe came in to the series as underdogs and fought hard, but they will still go to the Khulna Test trailing 0-1. Taylor said they would have to maintain their intensity.
"There are still two matches. So it's still not gone. The momentum may be with them but we have shown we can fight. There is not much to choose between the sides. The conditions might favour them but we will have to come to Khulna with a mindset that we are going to win."