HARARE (AFP) – Bangladesh will go into the final day of the second Test against Zimbabwe requiring just six wickets to earn a share of the two-match series after dominating another day at Harare Sports Club.
Having set Zimbabwe 401 for victory on the back of half-centuries from Mushfiqur Rahim and Nasir Hossain, Bangladesh reduced their hosts to 138 for four to give themselves every chance of avenging their heavy defeat in the first Test.
All of Zimbabwe’s top five made starts, but Hamilton Masakadza was the only one able to hold off the twin threat of Shakib Al Hasan and Ziaur Rahman, who claimed two wickets apiece.
Masakadza went to stumps unbeaten on 46, with his younger brother Shingirai sent up the order to see out 30 deliveries for his 7 not out.
Zimbabwe’s task was clear in the statistical evidence on offer – they have never successfully chased more than 162 to win a Test, while the highest run chase by anyone on this ground is 192 – achieved by Pakistan in a three-wicket win over the African side 15 years ago.
“It’s very daunting, but I think the guys are still confident,” said batting coach Grant Flower.
“We’ve had probably three soft dismissals, but it’s a new day tomorrow.
“The pressure is on Bangladesh because they’re in the driving seat and they will have expectations from back home, so hopefully we can use that.”
Bangladesh began day four on 163 for five – an overall lead of 272, which they extended to exactly 400 before declaring on 291 for nine midway through the second session.
Rahim’s 93 was at the heart of their second innings, but he received excellent support from Nasir, who registered his second half-century of the match before finishing unbeaten on 67.
“We were in a bit of trouble early on, so credit goes to Mushfiqur and Shakib Al Hasan for pulling us out of it,” Nasir said.
“We’re in a good position in the match now and if we can take two or three wickets in the morning then we should win.”
The Masakadza brothers claimed seven of the nine wickets to fall in the Bangladesh innings, with Shingirai claiming figures of 4 for 58 and Hamilton taking 3 for 24.