ZIM vs BAN, Only Test, Day 4 Review: Zimbabwe crushed, Bangladesh smell victory courtesy Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shadman Islam centuries

ZIM vs BAN, Only Test, Day 4 Review: Zimbabwe crushed, Bangladesh smell victory courtesy Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shadman Islam centuries

Zimbabwe need 337 runs, while Bangladesh seven wickets for the win.

Najmul Hossain Shanto
Najmul Hossain Shanto. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Often the third day of a Test is termed as the moving one, but on the fourth in Harare, things ran, raced and took off, with 379 runs scored in 90 overs. Having put themselves into pole position already, Bangladesh’s intent was clear from the onset. Hardly did it ever seem that Najmul Hossain Shanto did not have a flight to catch, as he smoked the Zimbabweans for fun in a record-breaking 196-run stand for the second wicket alongside fellow centurion partner Shadman Islam.

Zimbabwe, who fell 192 behind on the previous day – and then saw Bangladesh extend it to 237 by stumps – always had their backs against the wall. Picking themselves up from the solid performance, the opening duo of Isman and Saif Hassan showed an apt blend of caution and aggression as they extended their stand to 88. Seeming set for a half-century, Hassan fell seven short when he poked at Richard Ngarava and found Dion Myers grabbing a brilliant catch at gully.

The Shanto show

After Hassan’s departure, Shanto took matters into his own hands, showing great urgency to score runs, despite his team having ample time to force a result. Islam showed positive intent too, but Shanto exhibited some seriously aggressive ball-hitting instincts, as Bangladesh slammed 124 runs in the first session. After Lunch, there was still no respite for the opponents, and their laxity in the field did not help either.

In an on-go mode that Shanto was in, he belted six maximums and five fours in his 118-ball 117 knock, while his partner was slightly sedate in scoring 115 from 196, including nine boundaries. Roy Kaia and Milton Shumba especially bore the brunt of Shanto’s thorny assault, ending up giving runs at a rate that one would not usually associate with the format. But then, Bangladesh did not bat like that either.

Hassan’s wicket remained Zimbabwe’s only success, as Bangladesh cruised to a daunting 284/1 after Lunch. With both Shanto and Islam decently past the three-figure mark, Mominul Haque declared, setting Zimbabwe a highly improbable 477-run task to secure a win.

Blistering Brendan 

Out to chase a target that has never been chased in Test history, so staggering was Brendan Taylor’s assault that one might have – for once, very remotely – fancied a thought. Though, if only he could have carried on. But, for the way he batted, a T20 team would have taken Taylor’s blistering knock with both hands (his 73-ball 92 had 16 fours). Although, the unrealistic bubble of hope it created was short-lived, as he lobbed a return catch to Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who happily added one more to his five wickets from the previous innings.

Taylor had walked out after Taskin Ahmed had got Shumba caught cheaply at second slip; the extent of his domination can be evidenced from his ludicrous 92-run contribution off the 95 that the second wicket added. While Taylor smashed both spinners and pacers with disdain, his partner, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, went in a shell, quite literally: his 102-ball blockathon, in which he scored merely seven, ended with Shakib al Hasan pinning him lbw, leaving Zimbabwe 337 runs behind at the end of day’s play.