Fast bowlers Kyle Jarvis and Brian Vitori took five wickets each on their debuts as Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh by 130 runs yesterday for a first Test victory in seven years in their comeback match.
Bangladesh were 244 all out in their second innings soon after lunch on the fifth day at the Harare Sports Club, giving Zimbabwe a successful return to the five-day game after a six-year absence.
New captain Brendan Taylor had scores of 71 and 105 not out — his first Test century — to lay the foundation for a surprise victory for the African team, who were expected to struggle on their return to the format after such a long absence.
“I wasn’t thinking about the hundred too much, I hit a couple of boundaries around the 70s and then I started to think I could get it,” the 25-year-old Taylor said. “We needed as much time as we wanted to get these guys out.”
With Bangladesh starting the last day on 112-3, chasing a target of 375, Zimbabwe’s fast bowlers were rampant as they removed five batsmen in the morning session.
Jarvis then bowled Shafiul Islam first ball after lunch and wrapped up the match with the wicket of Robiul Islam, who was out leg before wicket in the third over of the second session to spark the Zimbabwe celebrations. All 11 Zimbabwe players came together in a team huddle on the pitch to mark the moment.
“It was a great honor and a privilege, and I couldn’t have been happier to lead a great bunch of guys and work with the coaching staff we’ve got,” said Taylor, who was named man of the match in his first game as captain. “That made my job a lot easier and all the hard work the guys put in, I was very confident coming into this game.”
Zimbabwe last won a Test when they beat Bangladesh at the same ground in February 2004, but a player-board fallout in 2005 forced them to voluntarily withdraw from Tests amid a deteriorating political and economic situation in the troubled nation.
Left-arm seamer Vitori had match figures of 5-122 and Jarvis 5-128 on their Test debuts as Zimbabwe’s seamers took 18 of the 20 Bangladesh wickets.
Chris Mpofu and former captain Elton Chigumbura shared eight wickets and Bangladesh’s batsmen struggled in the battle of the two lowest-ranked Test countries, falling to 287 all out in reply to Zimbabwe’s first innings 370 and then 244 after the hosts had declared their second innings on 291-5.
“I thought in both innings we didn’t bat well,” Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan said. “The wicket was a good one to bat on. We are disappointed with our batting. We thought if we batted two sessions properly [today] and we keep wickets in hand that would give us a chance, but we kept on losing wickets and that cost us the game.”