HARARE (AFP) – Chastened by a heavy defeat that has once again highlighted their lack of progress, Bangladesh begin the second and final Test against Zimbabwe on Thursday looking to prove they can adapt to foreign conditions and match their fellow Test strugglers.
The Asian side came into the series as hot favourites after improved performances in Sri Lanka, only to be bowled out for 134 and 147 as they lost the first Test to Zimbabwe by 335 runs at Harare Sports Club.
With the second Test being played on the same ground another green-tinged pitch is expected, and Bangladesh will need to show far greater durability against Zimbabwe’s talented but inexperienced pace attack if they are to come away from the series with some dignity.
“We didn’t play with any patience and we need to improve that,” Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen said on Tuesday. “We just have to bat for longer.
“When the game starts we have to be very disciplined in our approach to every ball, and do our basics well, which we probably didn’t do in the first game.”
The Tigers will also need to find a way to dismiss Brendan Taylor cheaply, after he became just the third Zimbabwean to score back-to-back centuries in a Test match.
Taylor was dropped once on his way to 171 in the first innings, but did not offer a chance as he breezed to 102 not out in the second.
“We have certainly been working towards the best way that we can address that situation,” said Jurgensen.
“If we get him out for a low score then we have the opportunity to put some pressure on their other batters.”
The tourists have been hit with fresh injury worries, with fast bowlers Rubel Hossain and Shahadat Hossain both returning home to be replaced by seamer Shafiul Islam and uncapped allrounder Ziaur Rahman.
However opening batsman Tamim Iqbal could return from a broken thumb, while Shakib Al Hasan will be back to full bowling fitness, giving Bangladesh’s selectors the option to pick an extra seamer.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, could field the same side that turned out in the first Test and will be buoyed by the opportunity to win a series by more than one match for just the second time in their history.
“It’s big for us — even 10 years ago, with the players we had back then, we struggled to win series,” said Taylor. “We just have to focus on day one and not look too far ahead.
“We know Bangladesh have players that can turn a game on its head in a session or two so we must just back our skills, have a clear mindset and look after our bodies.”