PREVIEW: After a historic win in Sylhet, Zimbabwe would be eyeing a rare series win as they clash with hosts Bangladesh in the second and final Test at Dhaka from Sunday, November 11th. Zimbabwe last won a Test series (they beat Bangladesh in a one-off Test at home in 2011) 14 years ago in 2004. Back then, they had beaten Bangladesh 1-0 in a two-Test series at home. Their last away series win also came against the same opposition – a 1-0 win in 2001. Barring that, they have just one other away series victory (against Pakistan in 1998).
The Zimbabwe batting will revolve around their skipper, Hamilton Masakadza – their highest run scorer with 892 runs – in the last five years. Sean Williams, who showed great application in Sylhet, will be the mainstay of the middle order and would look to bat for long periods. Tendai Chatara will lead the pace attack while Sikander Raza, the off-spinner, who picked his career-best 6-76 at Sylhet, will be the primary spinner. Brandon Mavuta, the leggie, who picked 4-21 in the second innings on debut at Sylhet will also be a threat in the middle overs. Zimbabwe may name an unchanged eleven.
Bangladesh should be worried. They have lost 7 out of the 8 Tests (and drawn one) they have played after their historic maiden win over Australia at Dhaka in August, 2017. Even more worrisome is the margin of defeats – four losses in excess of 150 runs, two innings’ defeats and one by seven wickets. Furthermore they have 12 team scores (in 16 innings) of less than 200 in these 15 months. The Bangladesh top-order hasn’t delivered in this period. They have put together only three fifty stands in 16 innings. Imrul Kayes has not scored a half century in 12 innings in this period. Mominul Haque, who has been their highest scorer with 502 runs during this period (and also the only one to score a hundred, which he has done twice) will be the pivot at number three.
Mohammad Mithun may make his Test debut in place of Najmul Shanto, who failed to impress in both innings in Sylhet. Also of deep concern would be the form of Mahmudullah – who has crossed 20 just once in his last nine Test innings. Mustafizur Rahman’s return to the eleven will bolster the pace attack. But the hosts will again depend heavily on Taijul Islam (11 wickets in Sylhet) and their spin attack to do the damage. The pitch is expected to heavily assist spinners – as has been par for course in Dhaka over the last couple of years. The weather will predominantly remain dry.
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