Vitori keeps Zimbabwe on top

Bangladesh

The final session of day two offered few thrills to the Harare Sports Club crowd, but they were still left satisfied by the fact that Zimbabwe continued to control their Test match against Bangladesh.

The final session of day two offered few thrills to the Harare Sports Club crowd, but they were still left satisfied by the fact that Zimbabwe continued to control their Test match against Bangladesh.

Ten wickets had fallen in the opening two sessions of the day as Zimbabwe collapsed from 304 for two to 370 all out and then reduced Bangladesh to 38 for two at tea, but the hosts managed just one breakthrough thereafter.

A 66-run partnership between Shahriar Nafees (50) and Mohammad Ashraful (34 not out) steadied Bangladesh, but Ray Price struck with the close of play in sight to remove Nafees and send the visitors to stumps on 107 for three – still 263 runs adrift.

The partnership had taken 31 overs though, as Zimbabwe's bowlers opted for a length that was difficult to hit and the batsmen refused to be suckered into any rash strokes.

It made for attritional cricket, with the spell only broken when Nafees tried to sweep Price, only for the ball to loop off the glove onto the stumps.

Left-arm seamer Brian Vitori had impressed on his international debut as he picked up both the Bangladeshi openers, showing pace and swing in equal measure on a wicket which came to life somewhat on the second day.

The short but well-built Vitori created lateral movement in his first six overs, inducing edges from Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal which were snaffled in the slips to send Zimbabwe to the tea interval on a high.

Fellow opening bowler Kyle Jarvis could have had Nafees in between those wickets when he found the edge of the left-hander's bat, only for Tino Mawoyo to put down a good chance at third slip.

Earlier Hamilton Masakadza scored his first Test century in ten years, but his dismissal led Zimbabwe to lose four wickets for 22 runs as Bangladesh bounced back prior to lunch.

Masakadza's first Test century came against West Indies as a 17-year-old debutant back in 2001, putting him fifth on the list of batsmen with the longest time between Test centuries.

Both he and Brendan Taylor started cautiously as Zimbabwe resumed on 264 for two, but both were guilty of careless dismissals and the middle-order collapse which followed meant that the hosts went to lunch on 326 for six.

Masakadza went to his century in 235 balls, while Taylor reached fifty in a patient 140 deliveries, after Bangladesh's seamers made a better start to the day than they had on Thursday.

Robiul Islam bowled a tighter line, while Shafiul Islam showed some invention as he went around the wicket, meaning it was a while before Maskadaza (104) and Taylor (71) started to up the tempo.

When they did it cost them their wickets, with both of them edging wide deliveries to grant Robiul his first two scalps in Test cricket.

The result was a change in mood on the field as Bangladesh found renewed hope and their spinners capitalised on the good work done by the seamers.

Mohammad Mahmudullah came on to target the left-handed Craig Ervine, whose poor run of form continued when he was trapped lbw by the offspinner.

Elton Chigumbura then fell to the final ball of the first session when he top-edged a sweep shot off the bowling of Shakib Al Hasan, with the catch held at the third attempt by Shafiul at fine leg.

With little batting down the order Zimbabwe added just 44 for the last four wickets as Shakib picked up two more scalps, but a small yet noisy crowd were treated to some fun as Vitori went after the spinner with some success, launching the Bangladeshi captain over square leg for six before holing out in the deep three balls later.

<B>Tristan Holme</B> in Harare

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