A sweet-smelling scent of victory engulfed Harare Sports Club yesterday as Zimbabwe edged yet closer to victory, thanks to Brendan Taylor’s unbeaten maiden Test tone, the basis of Zimbabwe’s second innings total of 295-4 declared on day four of their Castle Test cricket match against Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe opened up a commanding lead of 374 at tea and then challenged the tourists to chase the huge total, but at stumps the tourists were struggling at 112-3 with Mohammed Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim not out on 19 and four respectively.
Bangladesh will need 263 runs with seven wickets in hand if they are to win this one on the last day.
This after fast bowler Kyle Jarvis produced a brilliant bowling display to take two wickets after Bangladesh had started off at a brisk scoring pace, with Tamim Iqbal clobbering 43 off 44 runs before he was conquered by Chris Mpofu who shattered his stumps.
Iqbal, who clearly targeted debutante bowler Brian Vitori, hit seven fours.
As Zimbabwe moved from one position of strength to another with the crescendo heightening like a symphony, Jarvis took out Imrul Kayes caught behind by wicketkeeper Taibu for 31 runs having faced 61 balls.
Jarvis then uprooted Shahriar Nafees’ leg stump four overs later with a delivery any fast bowler would have been proud of, to reduce Bangladesh to 103-2 with 272 runs in the deficit.
Zimbabwe had begun the day on 94-4 with the match firmly in the balance but both Taylor and Tatenda Taibu scored at a steady pace to frustrate the Tigers’ bowlers and restore Zimbabwe’s initiative.
The two combined to put in 113 runs on the board before Robiul Islam unhinged the partnership when he enticed Taibu to drive, but only straight into the hands of Shafiul Islam to perish on 59 runs made from 136 balls.
Taylor then formed another fruitful stand with Craig Ervine to add 86 more runs on the scoreboard and on the way the former celebrated his first tone amid a loud applause and the sound of the vuvuzelas on a beautiful day.
To reach his hundred Taylor drove through the covers straight to the boundary leaping in delight, raising both his arms and punching the air several times; to show just how pleased he was to reach that landmark.
The right hander hit nine boundaries in the 170 ball knock to reach the century — to become only the third player in the current team to have scored a Test tone after Hamilton Masakadza and Taibu.
Craig Ervine showed Zimbabwe were intent on piling as much as they could in short time as he came in and hit 35 which featured four boundaries after facing 55 deliveries.
With everything seemingly going Zimbabwe’s way, there was a bit of a scare they might have declared too soon with Bangladesh openers scoring at a quick rate threatening to cut a significant part of the lead.