Zimbabwe in comfort zone against Bangladesh

Harare: Zimbabwe took a step towards winning their first Test after a six-year absence from cricket`s elite by taking a first innings lead of 83 over Bangladesh on the third day of the one-off Test at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

Having made 370 in their first innings, the hosts bowled the tourists out for 287 at the tea break with Brian Vitori, Ray Price and Christopher Mpofu taking the majority of Bangladeshi wickets.

Vitori, a left-arm seamer of some pace, took four for 66 in 16 overs on his debut for Zimbabwe. Price took two for only 34 with his usual aggressive spin while Mpofu weighed in with two for 72.

Bangladesh found only two batsmen to make sizeable scores. Skipper Shakib Al Hassan claimed his sixth half century on his way to a 68 that included seven fours.

Mohammad Ashraful, meanwhile, hit ten boundaries when he extended his overnight 34 to 73, his fourth half century.

Resuming on 107-3, the Bangladesh innings might have gone either way. They were 200 for five at lunch, but with the new ball soon due their chances of a first innings lead from that point were remote. And so it proved.

Their last five wickets fell for 97 runs, with only wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim offering significant resistance with 27.

Zimbabwe now have the opportunity to build up a considerable second innings score and the home side will expect to leave Bangladesh a high target to win.

Bureau Report

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