Bangladesh cricketers Ariful Haque (L) and Nazmul Hasan shake hands after getting Test cap against Zimbabwe during the first day of the first Test at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Collected

Sports Reporter
Sean Williams scored a fighting 88 and captain Hamilton Masakadza added 52, to steer the side to 236-5 at stumps. Winning the toss, Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Masakadza sent Bangladesh to field first in the opening test of the two-match series at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Bangladesh handed debuts to all-rounder Ariful Haque and left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu in the first match of the stadium. The Sylhet stadium became Bangladesh’s eighth venue to host a Test match. Former captain Akram Khan rang the bell for five-minutes to inaugurate the match.
Bangladesh four players miss out this series Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Nurul Hasan Sohan, and Kamrul Islam Rabbi who played last game against West Indies on July this year. Ariful Haque and Nazmul Islam Apu started their journey in Test cricket with the historic match. Besides that Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Taijul Islam have returned to the eleven. Apu got his maiden wicket with Sikandar Raza(19) getting bowled. The debutant celebrated his wicket with his trademark ‘naagin dance’. Ariful Hauqe didn’t make any immediate impact with his four-over spell. One the other hand, Zimbabwe are playing two specialist pacers and three spinners. Tendai Chatara will accompany Kyle Jarvis in the pace attack. Regis Chakabva will do the wicket-keeping. Sikandar Raza has been included in the XI.
Bangladesh are playing Zimbabwe in a Test match after four years. Last time when these two played a Test series, Bangladesh convincingly whitewashed 3-0. In 14 face-offs, Bangladesh have won five times while Zimbabwe won six of them.
Bangladesh have played four Tests this year and lost three of them drawing just one. This Test is Zimbabwe’s first Test of the year. Last time they played against South Africa in a four-day D/N Test in Port Elizabeth. Hamilton Masakadza has taken over captaincy role from Graeme Cremer.
As a local in Sylhet, family and friends of Abu Jayed Rahi was expected to turn up in the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, which made its debut as the eighth Test venue of Bangladesh with the first Test of the two-match series against Zimbabwe.
It was also Rahi’s first International match in his home town but he said neither his mother nor his family members turned up for the match.
“My mother came to stadium to watch my game during the BPL but got disturbed because she hardly could see me on the ground from the stadium. Thereafter she said it’s better to watch my game in television,” Rahi revealed after the first day’s game.
“She said she is comfortable to watch me in television because in television it’s easier to find me than from the stadium. In fact no one from my home came to the stadium.”
The fast bowler who is the only pace bowler of Bangladesh in this Test also said that he had already told his near ones not to demand a ticket from him to watch cricket in the stadium.