Battle of the minnows gets off

HABIBUL Bashar slammed a solid 94 as Bangladesh survived a minor scare to reach 280-4 at stumps on the opening day of the first Test against Zimbabwe in Chittagong yesterday.



sans-serif”>Bangladesh, seeking their first win since gaining Test status in 2000, had slipped from 91 for no loss to 153-3 before Bashar bolstered the innings with a 119-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rajin Saleh (60 not out).


Fast bowler Mluleki Nkala led a brief Zimbabwean recovery with two wickets in the afternoon session, but Bangladesh’s skipper Bashar soon restored the balance with his impressive knock in a clash between the Test minnows.


Bashar looked set to complete his fourth Test hundred when he edged debutant seamer Christopher Mpofu to be caught by wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu, who dived to his right to bring off a low catch.


The hosts got off to a solid start after winning the toss on a slow pitch as Nafis Iqbal (56) and Javed Omar (33) put on 91.


Their stand was Bangladesh’s best for the opening wicket in 35 Tests, surpassing the previous highest of 73 between Al Sahariar and Omar against the same opponents at the same venue in 2001.


But Zimbabwe hit back in the second session when they removed both openers in the space of seven balls.


Zimbabwe earned the breakthrough when Elton Chigumbura got rid of Omar.


Iqbal fell in the next over when he was caught at short-leg by Vusumuzi Sibanda, who reacted sharply to hold the ball on the second attempt.


Nkala got his second wicket at the stroke of tea when he had Mohammad Ashraful (19) caught by Hamilton Masakadza. — AFP.

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