Sports desk: It will be an acid test for Bangladesh as they face visiting Zimbabwe in their crucial second and final Test of the two-match series scheduled to begin tomorrow (Sunday) at the home of cricket Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at Mirpur.
The match kicks off at 9:30 am.
The Tigers are desperate to level the series against Zimbabwe. Bangladesh are trailing in the two-match Test series 0-1 after the visitors inflicted them by 151-run defeat in the first Test at Sylhet International Stadium.
It is a must-win game for the hosts while for Zimbabwe even a draw would be enough result in their third Test series victory away from home.
Tigers’ reputation as a team that is strong at home is on the line. Zimbabwe goes to tomorrow’s second Test with an upper hand not only by 1-0 lead in the series, but also with the confidence of having dismantled the hosts for less than 200 in both innings in Sylhet.
Bangladesh have failed to score more than 200 in eight consecutive Test innings now, a streak that raised plenty of questions.
Imrul Kayes and Liton Das combined well as openers in the ODIs against Zimbabwe, but completely failed to shine in the first Test.
It was a fault that Mominul Haque and Mahmudullah were also guilty about. The responsibility now falls on Mushfiqur Rahim to move up the order – he was at No. 6 in Sylhet – so that he can bat with other batsmen around him, instead of shoring up collapses with the tail for company.
Of Bangladesh’s two debutants in Sylhet, Ariful Haque had two decent outings but Najmul Hossain Shanto, a highly rated young batsman, came under scrutiny after his dismal performance. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Mohammad Mithun makes his Test debut in Najmul’s place.
Zimbabwe showed the capability of staying long at the crease. And no one is better than Sean Williams, who made 88 off 173 balls in the first innings to put Zimbabwe in a position of strength.
Hamilton Masakadza and Peter Moor also contributed half centuries for the team’s victory, but Brendon Taylor and Sikandar Raza were short of runs. The visitors will hope their ability to play spin serves them well in the second Test as well.
The visitor’s had little to complain about their bowling. Tendai Chatara and Kyle Jarvis provided early breakthroughs and Raza led the spin attack in both innings, taking six wickets.
Newcomers Brandon Mavuta and Wellington Masakadza bowled well in the second innings and again expected to provide crucial role in the second Test as well.
The Bangladesh’s spinners will have to play a pivotal role in the second Test. Taijul Islam had a superb game with his 11 wickets, but Mehidy Hasan Miraz may look to bowl differently in Dhaka.
Bowling sensation Mustafizur Rahman is likely to return to the attack and may share the new ball with Abu Jayed who held his own given the limited opportunities in Sylhet.
Bangladesh (probable) – Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Mohammad Mithun/Najmul hossain Shanto, Mahmudullah (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket keeper), Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Nazmul Islam/Abu Jayed.
Zimbabwe (probable) – Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Brian Chari, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Peter Moor, Regis Chakabva (wicket keeper), Brandon Mavuta, Wellington Masakadza, Kyle Jarvis and Tendai Chatara.