Bowlers give Zimbabwe first-innings lead

On a pitch that was at its best for batting, Bangladesh’s batsmen still struggled to contend with the away movement from Vitori, the short ball from Mpofu and the pace of Kyle Jarvis. Zimbabwe’s seamers kept to consistent lines and varied their lengths to give another respectable account of themselves after a morning session in which Bangladesh scored briskly despite losing wickets.

Vitori and Jarvis began the morning with the same energy that they showed when they started yesterday afternoon, with Jarvis presenting the batsmen with the biggest threat. Mohammad Ashraful survived a confident lbw appeal against him and a mistimed pull shot over Vusi Sibanda’s head which the backpedalling gully fielder couldn’t hold on to.

Despite flirting with danger, Ashraful reached a determined half-century with a confident cut through point which seemed to settle him down. Mahmudullah negotiated the attack with equal patience but then tamely pulled a short ball – one he should have sent over mid-wicket – to square leg. His departure brought Shakib al Hasan to the crease, who formed a strong partnership with Ashraful. The pair ran well between the wickets and dealt with the persistent short-pitched bowling from Elton Chigumbura and Chris Mpofu in authoritative fashion.

Ashraful looked set to bat for the rest of the day but gave his wicket away trying to run a short ball past slip, succeeding only in getting an edge through to Taibu. With Shakib switching to anchor mode, Bangladesh would have still eaten lunch with some ease, despite being 170 runs behind at that stage.

They returned to a more hostile Zimbabwe attack that had the new ball available to them after seven overs. Mpofu, who had bowled a containing line with the old ball after lunch shared the new ball with Vitori, who was getting impressive movement. Both bowlers started off bowling too short, but it didn’t cost them much. Shakib become the first victim when he came forward and edged an Mpofu delivery that was not full enough to drive.

With the Bangladesh captain gone, the bowlers alternated full deliveries with bouncers and forced Abdur Razzak to contend with a good line as well. He didn’t last long and was out lbw to a Mpofu full toss that struck him low in front of middle stump. Mushfiqur Rahim was playing a patient knock but after negotiating a flurry of short balls, eventually played a lethargic pull and was caught at deep square leg.

Jarvis finally claimed his first Test wicket, bowling Shafiul Islam with a full delivery that held its line and sent the offstump tumbling out of the ground. Rubel Hoosain had some fun, sending a ball flying over the slip cordon for four and another through mid on but he was the last man standing when Robiul Islam was out lbw to the ever effervescent Ray Price.

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