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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Brendan Taylor holds off Bangladesh on testing pitch

Brendan Taylor's sixth Test half-century steadied Zimbabwe as Bangladesh struggled to make full use of a green wicket on the first day of the first Test at Harare Sports Club.

Although the tourists made some early inroads after winning the toss and electing to bowl, reducing Zimbabwe to 65 for three, an unbroken stand between Taylor and Malcolm Waller allowed the home side to take tea on 121 for three.

While there was no shortage of green grass on the pitch, the surface was not the quickest and Zimbabwe only nudged their run rate up to two per over shortly before the tea break as free scoring remained difficult.

Taylor batted cautiously for his unbeaten 54, taking 129 deliveries, while Waller's unbeaten 22 required 66 deliveries.

Hamilton Masakadza was the only batsman dismissed in the second session, caught at slip off the bowling of left-arm spinner Enamul Haque for 25.

Debutant Timycen Maruma and fellow opener Vusi Sibanda fell to fast bowler Robiul Islam in the morning session, when there was plenty of assistance for the seamers.

A fierce yorker from Robiul in the ninth over of the day knocked Sibanda's middle stump out of the ground, before Maruma was controversially adjudged lbw six overs later.

Maruma was one of three new caps for Zimbabwe, with fast bowler Keegan Meth playing his first Test and Richmond Mutumbami brought in to keep wicket in the absence of the injured Regis Chakabva.

Meanwhile fast bowler Shingirai Masakadza was surprisingly preferred to Tendai Chatara, who had made an impression during the recent tour of the West Indies.

Former captain Shakib Al Hasan returned to the Bangladesh side after missing the tour of Sri Lanka through injury, but Tamim Iqbal was left out after failing to recover fully from a broken thumb.

Bangladesh fast bowler Robiul Islam struck twice to put a cautious Zimbabwe on the back foot in the first session of the first Test at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.

Robiul removed Zimbabwe openers Vusi Sibanda and Timycen Maruma in his opening spell, before Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor helped the hosts recover to 50 for two at lunch.

With a healthy layer of green grass on the pitch there was plenty of assistance for the Bangladesh seamers after their captain Mushfiqur Rahim had won the toss and opted to bowl, but Zimbabwe's openers rode their luck early on with debutant Maruma dropped at slip in the first over of the day.

However a fierce yorker from Robiul in the ninth over of the day knocked Sibanda's middle stump out of the ground, before Maruma was controversially adjudged lbw six overs later.

With the Decision Review System not in place for the series due to the prohibitive costs of running it, Maruma was unable to query umpire Tony Hill's decision.

Masakadza and Taylor dug in to see off the remainder of Robiul's spell, and eventually improved the scoring rate when left-arm spinner Enamul Haque was introduced as Taylor got off the mark with a six over long-off.

Taylor went into the break on 12 not out, while Masakadza was unbeaten on 20.

Maruma was one of three new caps for the home side, with fast bowler Keegan Meth playing his first Test and Richmond Mutumbami brought in to keep wicket in the absence of the injured Regis Chakabva.

Meanwhile fast bowler Shingirai Masakadza was surprisingly preferred to Tendai Chatara, who had made an impression during the recent tour of the West Indies.

Former captain Shakib Al Hasan returned to the Bangladesh side after missing the tour of Sri Lanka through injury, but Tamim Iqbal was left out after failing to recover fully from a broken thumb. (AFP)

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