Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who scored a resplendent unbeaten 219 in the first innings of the second Test against Zimbabwe, said Bangladesh “badly” needed this victory after being stunned in the first Test. Having lost the first encounter by 151 runs, Bangladesh managed to outclass Zimbabwe by 218 runs in the second and final Test to level the series 1-1.
“It was really badly needed because the first Test didn’t go our way. I think the boys showed some character. Mominul (Haque) played a gem of an innings. Throughout the series, the bowlers did their part, especially Taijul (Islam) and Miraz (Mehidy Hasan). In the last two years, Miraz has been amazing. As a team, hopefully, we will continue to improve. In Tests at home, we have really dominated at home over the last three years,” said Man of the Match Rahim.
Bangladesh’s first innings was all about Mominul Haque (161) and Rahim. Skipper Mahmudullah (101*) then scored a century in the second essay to bat Zimbabwe out of the game. For Zimbabwe, Brendan Taylor scored tons in both the innings but hardly found any support except for Peter Moor and Brian Chari, who scored 83 and 53 respectively, in the first innings. The other batsmen struggled against Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan who shared 15 wickets between them in the match and played key roles in dismissing Zimbabwe for 304 and 224 respectively.
Mahmudullah said his team showed a lot of character and praised his players for their efforts.
“I think the boys were determined enough and showed their character. They stuck to their task. With Mushy and Mominul, we built up the partnership, and they gave us some good runs in the first innings. Taijul was brilliant with the ball. I was struggling a bit (myself) and I have to improve to contribute to the team more,” he said.
Islam was rewarded as Player of the Series for scalping 18 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls and a six-wicket haul, in two Tests. Apart from expressing his excitement over his performance, the left-arm spinner also thanked Hasan for his “invaluable” support.
“It is always good to perform well, and especially when you do it in your own country,” he said.
“The wicket (in Sylhet) didn’t look very helpful at first sight. Today, we were confident of getting early wickets. The Mirpur pitch can be played out for the first one or two overs, and we were confident of getting their wickets. (Miraz) His support has been invaluable.”
Not all was doom and gloom for Zimbabwe. Taylor became the only Zimbabwean batsman to score centuries in both the innings twice. He had achieved the same feat against the same opponent in April 2013 in Harare. Flower brothers – Grant and Andy – are the other two batsmen to score twin centuries for Zimbabwe. Sean Williams too had a very good tour and captain Hamilton Masakadza didn’t shy away from praising the efforts of his players.
Masakadza, however, mentioned that the 266-run stand between Mominul and Rahim proved to be the game-changer.
“We knew Bangladesh would come hard at us…but I thought the boys showed character, especially after going so far behind in the first innings,” he said.
“World-class from Brendan. We have always known how good he is. Also really impressed with the way Sean Willams played for us throughout the series. Also the seamers, took wickets early, which is never easy in the subcontinent.
“Losing that second session on the first day’s play really put us behind in the game.”