|Scorecard:||Zimbabwe A v Bangladeshis|
Zimbabwe As overnight batsmen Trevor Gripper and Gavin Ewing resumed comfortably at 71 for five against a slightly less vocal or inspired Bangladeshi team, and accumulated steadily, with Grippers classical driving and timing again most impressive. They looked to be in for the long stay, when unexpectedly Gripper misjudged a leg-cutter from Tareq Aziz, coming on for his first over of the morning, and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud. He made 38 and Zimbabwe A were 103 for six.
Ewing continued with great confidence, partnered first by Travis Friend, who scored 3 before playing back to Aziz and edging the ball on to his stumps. Then Gary Brent proved another good sleeping partner for 5 runs before he was superbly caught by Hannan Sarkar at first slip off Aziz, taking the score to 159 for eight. Ewing was not feeling too well and after reaching his fifty he struggled.
Blessing Mahwire proved more proactive, confident enough to loft left-arm spinner Manjarul Islam for six into the sightscreen. Ewing continued to 71 off 99 balls before edging Alamgir Kabir to the keeper and, like the other Zimbabwean batsmen, declining to walk until required to do so by the umpire although blatantly out. Finally Mahwire (18) lofted Islam to deep midwicket and Zimbabwe A were all out for 183, conceding a lead of 18 runs on first innings.
Kabir returned the excellent figures of five for 47, but he had lost some of his fire on the second morning, when Aziz, with three for 54, was the best bowler. The last Zimbabwe A wicket fell just before lunch, which was taken immediately.
Bangladesh made a poor start to their second innings. They adopted too cautious an approach, and had only 10 on the board in the ninth over when Sarkar glanced Friend down the leg side and wicketkeeper Alester Maregwede took an excellent diving catch to send him back for 6. Captain Habibul Bashar failed to score, lasting four balls before Mahwire produced a real gem that came back off the seam and knocked his middle stump out; 13 for two.
Shahriar Hossain again survived the early damage and began to look for runs more positively. He had 18 to his account, though, when he snicked Mahwire and Maregwede dropped a low but easier catch than the one he had taken, the ball flying out of his gloves as his elbows hit the ground.
The escape seemed to send Hossain into his shell again, and he progressed slowly to 22 before he edged Douglas Hondo low to slip, to make the Bangladeshis 38 for three in the 21st over. Rajin Saleh (8) quickly followed, as Brent got a ball to fly off the pitch and the ball lobbed off the shoulder of the bat to point. Next ball new batsman Al-Sahariar played half-forward to be struck on the pad, and an altogether too frenzied appeal by Brent was, after much though, accepted by umpire Manny Mhlanga.
The feeling in the Bangladesh camp was that most of their batsmen were playing for their places and concentrating on staying at the crease for as long as possible. If so, it was certainly counter-productive as they were now reeling on 42 for five.
Ashraful and Islam did a better job of staying in and scoring a few runs as well, and they stayed together until tea, when the score was 73 for five and they had 20 and 15 respectively. They continued after tea until their stand had realized 54, at which point Islam (25) hooked at Brent but only for long leg to take running in.
The recovery continued as Khaled Mashud joined Ashraful, who began to play his shots more readily. This time the stand was worth 62, and saw Ashraful to 50 before he mistimed a drive off Ewing and was caught at mid-on; 158 for seven.
Play ended 20 minutes early due to bad light, but thanks to the abysmal over rate by both sides and the weakness of the authorities who lack the will to tackle 12 overs short of the daily ration had been bowled. Mashud was unbeaten on 22 and Anwar on 5.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 John Ward)