Twin centuries for Taylor in Zimbabwe's 10th Test victory

Captain Brendan Taylor broke Zimbabwe batting records as the team marched to a 335 run victory over Bangladesh in the 1st Test match at Harare Sports Club. Taylor was man of the match having scored 171 first innings runs followed by an unbeaten 102 in the second innings, becoming only the third Zimbabwean to score twin centuries and the first Zimbabwean captain to do so. It's only the 14th instance of a captain scoring a century in each innings of a Test match, meaning Taylor joins an elite club including Sir Donald Bradman and Ricky Ponting among other Test cricket greats.

After being sent in to bat on day one Zimbabwe lost early wickets with Robiul Islam removing Vusi Sibanda and the debutant Timycen Maruma in the first 15 overs. It wasn't until a 127 run fourth wicket stand between Taylor and Malcolm Waller, who scored 55, that Zimbabwe looked on track to score a challenging total.

Taylor brought up his second successive Test century against Bangladesh with a boundary through the cover region with Zimbabwe on 4/208 in the 85th over. Elton Chigumbura almost departed on 5 in the following over after being clean bowled but was given a reprieve after Rubel Hossain was adjudged to have slightly overstepped.

Chigumbura survived until stumps, but ultimately only added 7 to his score after Rubel got his man the next morning.

It was in his good mate that Taylor found decent support from other end, with Graeme Cremer demonstrating why he is seen as a promising allround talent with 42, at the time his highest Test score. Cremer stuck around with Taylor for a century partnership. With the score at 6/308, Taylor passed 150 and soon after he dispatched the left arm spinner Enamul Haque Jnr for six over the bowlers head to pass Tino Mawoyo's record of 163 as the highest score by a Zimbabwean since their readmission to Test cricket in 2011. Taylor was dismissed for 171, the highest score by a Zimbabwean captain, after top edging Enamul Haque Jnr to the wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim.

The tail wagged with Keegan Meth and Shingi Masakadza putting on 37 together. Zimbabwe ended their innings on 389 after 152.3 overs.

Bangladesh got off to a flying start in the last session on day two, losing just 1 wicket on their way to 95 after 25 overs. The middle order crumbled in the morning session of day three losing 5 wickets to Keegan Meth and Shingi Masakadza in swinging conditions. Bangladesh were reeling at 6/134 at lunch, but the lower order capitulated spectacularly with the last 4 wickets being taken - 3 to Kyle Jarvis and 1 to S Masakadza - with no further addition to the runs tally. Jarvis and S Masakadza each ended the innings with 4 wickets while Meth took 2.

Faced with the option to enforce the follow on having secured a 255 run first innings lead, Taylor surprised many by electing to have another bat. It looked like the decision would backfire with the two openers and Hamilton Masakadza back in the pavilion in the first 10 overs. A brisk 27 by Chigumbura added some respectability to Zimbabwe's second innings score, but when he and wicket keeper Richmond Mutumbami departed in consecutive deliveries Zimbabwe were in an uncomfortable situation of being 6/84, despite securing a lead of over 300. It was once again Brendan Taylor and Graeme Cremer who rescued the innings with a 79 run partnership, with a running mix-up seeing Mushfiqur running out Cremer 7 runs short of a maiden Test half-century, overtaking his highest Test score from the previous innings.

Keegan Meth batted with his captain until stumps on day three with the score at 7/187, a lead of well over 400.

Taylor resumed his innings the next morning on 81 while Meth had scored 13 the previous day. Eager to get in the field again, Taylor attacked against Robiul Islam, Bangladesh's hero from the previous day with 6 wickets to his name, scoring a four and a six to take himself into the nineties. A few overs later, he cut Rubel Hossain for 3 to bring up his century. Zimbabwe declared two balls later with a lead of 482.

Bangladesh's second innings did not progress much better than their first, being bundled out for 147 in under 50 overs. Only Mohammad Ashraful made a decent contribution with 40, before being run out by Taylor and Mutumbami in bizarre circumstances which saw Graeme Cremer turn the ball from outside off-stump to first slip, with Ashraful setting off for the run not realising Taylor had stopped the ball.

The seamers once again caused problems for the top order. With the luxury of a huge lead, attacking fields saw Jarvis go for over 4 an over but in doing so he snared the wickets of Shahriar Nafees, Mahmudullah and Shakib al Hasan.

In an interesting case of history repeating itself, Taylor and Elton Chigumbura combined to dismiss the opposition captain and signal the effective end of the Bangladeshi resistance. Taylor took a spectacular one handed slips catch close to the ground to see Mushfiqur depart. The same fate met Shakib al Hasan in 2011.

In his first lengthy spell of the match, Graeme Cremer extracted a lot of turn and bounce from the fourth day pitch. The Bangladesh lower order could not combat it and Cremer ended the innings with his best Test bowling figures of 4/4.

Zimbabwe take a 1-0 lead in the Test series and in the process secured their first Test win since 2011 and tenth overall since 1992.

Brendan Taylor was chosen as the man of the match for his match winning contributions of 171 and 102 not out.

Posted by admin on April 21, 2013