Zimbabwe opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano dug in for a gritty 87 as the home side saved the follow-on at the Harare Sports Club on Friday (July 9) but Bangladesh ended the third day of the one-off Test well in control. After bowling out Zimbabwe for 276 to claim a first innings lead of 192, the Bangladesh openers batted through to the close to reach 45 without loss and extend that lead to 237.
Shadman Islam was 22 not out and Saif Hassan, who was dismissed for a duck in the first innings, was unbeaten on 20. The Zimbabwe innings revolved around two innings of contrasting styles, Kaitano's brave and patient 87 and a swashbuckling 81 from stand-in captain Brendan Taylor.
Kaitano, playing in his first Test, stuck around for 311 balls before being caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Liton Das, trying to flick Mehidy Hasan Miraz away through midwicket. Off-spinner Mehidy ended as the most successful of the Bangladesh bowlers with 5-82, the eighth time that he has claimed a five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
After the departure of Kaitano with the hosts 261-6, the Zimbabwe tail collapsed, adding only 15 runs in warm mid-winter conditions. Day three had begun promisingly for the home team with a boundary-littered 81 by stand-in captain Brendan Taylor lifting his side to 209-2 by lunch.
Taylor is deputising for regular skipper Sean Williams, who is in self-isolation after coming into contact with family members who tested positive for coronavirus. Taylor and Kaitano added 115 for the second wicket and appeared to be in serene control, Kaitano's stout defence complemented by the captain's more robust approach.
Taylor averaged close to a run a ball as he faced 92 balls and struck 12 fours and one six before miscuing a slog off Mehidy and spooning the ball to substitute Yasir Ali at square-leg. It was a crucial moment as it changed the mood and momentum of the match, culminating in a collapse that saw eight wickets go down for just 51 runs as Zimbabwe slumped from 225-2 to 276 all out.
Mehidy and fellow bowlers Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shakib al Hasan and captain Mominul Haque had toiled throughout the first session, conceding 95 runs and capturing just one wicket. But there was a dramatic change after lunch as Zimbabwe added only 35 runs off 29 overs and lost three wickets during the second session as they crept to 244-5 by tea. Shakib al Hasan did most of the damage, removing debutant Dion Myers, who made 27, and Timycen Marumo for a duck.
A Myers sweep was caught by Mehidy at fine leg and Marumo was trapped leg before having failed to score off 17 balls. Taskin Ahmed claimed the other second-session wicket, finding the edge of Roy Kaia's bat as Das pouched another catch to send him back, also for a duck. After Kaitano's dismissal, only Regis Chakabva offered any sustained resistance with a dogged 31 not out as the rest of the tail quickly folded.
Bangladesh 468 (Mahmudullah 150*, Taskin Ahmed 75; Blessing Muzarabani 4 for 94) & 45 for no loss (Shadman Islam 22*, Said Hassan 20*) lead Zimbabwe 276 (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 87, Brendan Taylor 81; Mehidy Hasan 5 for 82) by 237 runs.