Enamul gives Bangladesh the edge

Zimbabwe 244 for 6 (Matsikenyeri 51, Taibu 49*, Enamul 4-74) v Bangladesh
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Tatenda Taibu negotiated a difficult final session and was one run short of his second half-century of the series when stumps were drawn on the first day of the second Test with Zimbabwe on 244 for 6. Bangladesh took the honours, though, as they had picked up six wickets on a flat track, and conceded less than three an over throughout the day.

Taibu held the Zimbabwe innings together after Enamul Haque jr, the left-arm spinner, had threatened to cut through the batting order, taking the first four wickets to fall. Taibu did have a lucky moment just after tea, when he was dropped by Khaled Mashud, but he put that behind him and steadied the ship with Elton Chigumbura. It was the Taibu-Chigumbura combination which had saved the follow-on in the first Test with a robust stand of 117.

But another blossoming partnership was cut short by Tapash Baisya, who got rid of Chigumbura (34) with the second new ball. Chigumbura cut Baisya for a boundary, but failed to keep the following ball down, and Mohammad Ashraful took the resultant catch (221 for 6).

Chigumbura had shown remarkable patience in his 167-ball association with Taibu, which produced exactly 50 runs. Bangladesh had clawed back the initiative after lunch thanks to a three-wicket burst from Enamul, the hero of the first Test, and the dismissal of Hamilton Masakadza just before tea left Zimbabwe in some trouble at 171 for 5. Enamul could have recorded his second five-for in consecutive innings just after the break, but the normally dependable Mashud snatched at a thick edge from Taibu and floored the ball.

All along Enamul and Mohammad Rafique asked a lot of questions of the batsmen and a couple of leading edges just fell short of the close in fielders. Chigumbura then broke the shackles with two straight sixes off Rafique. With the stand gradually growing Bangladesh took the new ball in the 87th over, and were rewarded with the wicket of Chigumbura. Taibu, who had really concentrated hard, survived a spontaneous shout for caught behind in the last over of the day, which was bowled by Rafique, and was still there at the end after surviving 166 deliveries.

Enamul had again delivered the goods for Bangladesh. He had 4 for 74 at the end of the day, and was threatening whenever he came on to bowl. He made the odd one turn and kick off the pitch, while some balls stopped on the batsmen. Enamul's chances of forcing a mistake were greatly enhanced by Rafique's efforts at the other end. Rafique, who went wicketless, gave away a miserly 48 from his 32 overs. Baisya, meanwhile, was used in short bursts and repaid the faith shown in him by breaking two vital partnerships.

It all began with Enamul, who gave Bangladesh their only breakthrough before lunch when he bowled Barney Rogers to break the 65-run opening stand. And he was back in action immediately after lunch when Stuart Matsikenyeri, who had just reached a chancy half-century, dragged one back into his stumps via his boot (96 for 2).
Enamul mixed up his deliveries well, and all the batsmen found it difficult to pick him. This confusion led to the fall of the third wicket, when Dion Ebrahim (12) padded up to one that straightened after pitching in line with the stumps. The umpire had no hesitation in adjudging Ebrahim out lbw (107 for 3).

Zimbabwe were soon in deeper trouble. Four runs later Brendan Taylor offered no shot at one from Enamul that turned back after pitching. Taylor survived that loud shout for lbw, but did not make the Bangladeshis pay. The next ball thudded onto the pads, with Taylor caught in two minds whether to come forward or go back, and this time he was plumb in front (111 for 4).

Taibu, who was watching his colleagues hit the self-destruct button, was forced to consolidate, and did so in the company of Masakadza. They put the short ones away and stymied the twin-spin attack of Enamul and Rafique. Masakadza, who looked at ease throughout his stay at the wicket, was finally dismissed for a cultured 43. Baisya, who was taken for 14 runs by Masakadza when he came back for his second spell, then set him up with four reverse-swinging deliveries that slanted in. He then slipped in a well-disguised slow legcutter, that Masakadza played too early at and chipped a simple catch to Aftab Ahmed at mid-off (171 for 5).

In the morning things had gone better for Zimbabwe. Matsikenyeri had chanced his arm and pushed the score on to a healthy 88 for 1 at lunch. Matsikenyeri was dropped on 5, and later narrowly survived being run out too. In contrast Rogers was composed, and executed some elegant strokes. He brought up the 50 partnership with a flicked boundary off Mashrafe Mortaza, and then played a classy straight-drive for four next ball. But just when it seemed like one-way traffic, and that Zimbabwe had made the most of winning the toss and batting first, Habibul Bashar introduced Enamul - and the complexion of the game changed. Enamul snared Rogers, and from then on it was all downhill for Zimbabwe.

Rabeed Imam is a sports writer for the Daily Star in Dhaka.