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Sports Desk
The three-day practice match between the Bangladesh Board XI and Zimbabwe ended in a draw as was expected but it gave good batting and bowling practice for the visitors before their first Test match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe woke up on the fourth morning requiring four wickets to end the BCB XI innings and they did the job within one session, eventually limiting the hosts to 297 runs. Leg break bowler Natsai M’shangwe failed to add to his overnight tally of four wickets, but his fellow bowling attack picked up on where he left off with Tafadzwa Kamungozi grabbing two more to add to his one overnight, and seamer Shingirai Masakadza picking up two of the opposition tail-enders.
Shuvagata Hom was the top-scorer for BCB XI, finishing unbeaten on 75, but the spirited manner in which the Zimbabwe bowlers spiritedly combined to take 10 wickets in a day and a half was admirable. M’shangwe in particular impressed the most, giving his captain control and striking ability. Kamungozi also chipped in with three vital wickets to ensure the brains trust have plenty options to choose from in the spin department.
Zimbabwe’s batting, needing to put up a more polished performance at the second time of asking, showed glimpses of batters adapting to the conditions and applying themselves to bat the long innings, but the syndrome of getting out after a start still resonated. And this should concern the technical staff.
Sikandar Raza Butt and Vusimuzi Sibanda shared a 68-run opening stand, before Sibanda had his defences breached for the second time in the match for 22. Raza took the attack to the opposition scoring a rapid 45 off 74 balls, but again he found a way of getting out soon after surviving the difficult part of batting.
A mini-collapse then ensued with Brian Chari departing without scoring and Brendan Taylor getting out on four. Hamilton Masakadza scored a pretty 31, but failed to convert.
Up stepped Craig Ervine, needing to make a statement that warrants his inclusion in the touring party. His knock of 85 was a mixture of patience and aggression comprising of 11 fours and four sixes, and showed exactly why his services are handy in that middle order.
The first match of the two-match Test series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will begin on Saturday (Nov 3) at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
Zimbabwe – 241 all out & 201 for 5 (Craig Ervine 85; Sikandar Raza Butt 45; Dewan Sabbir 2-17)
Bangladesh Cricket Board XI – 297 all out (Shuvagata Hom 75*; Natsai M’shangwe 4-98, Tafadzwa Kamungozi 3-41)