An interesting game in Harare

With the current England V India series taking place, which includes stupid run outs, commentary box spats and Indians getting upset over Vaseline jibes from ex England captains, it is very easy to overlook the fact that there is test cricket going on in another part of the world.
There is currently a great test match taking place at the Harare Sports Club, between the host nation Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. And despite not playing a test match since 2005, Zimbabwe look set for a remarkable victory.
Although I’ve no pictures, as I’ve had a bet on the game I’ve been following it on Cricinfo. From what I can gleam from this on line coverage, Zimbabwe’s captain Brendan Taylor looks like a breath of fresh air for cricket.
First he scored a well paced century. His strike rate was very low during the morning session, but at that time the game was in the balance as Zimbabwe needed to rebuild after losing quick wickets late on the evening of Day 3.
After he got his team through that sticky spell, he started to accelerate after lunch with – in hindsight – a declaration in mind, bringing up his century before tea.
Then during the tea interval the declaration came. No messing around batting the opposition right out of the game, Taylor set Bangladesh 375 in 4 sessions – maybe there is a captain or two around the world game who could well follow that example.
At one stage after tea with Tamim Iqbal in a one man hot pursuit, Bangladesh were actually the favourites to win at just under 2/1. An hour earlier while Zimbabwe where batting, they could be backed at 40/1. It was an amazing turnaround, here was a team chasing an unlikely 375 to win a test match into 2/1 favourites within an hour of the declaration.
Although at the back of mind I knew that the odds depended solely on the amount of time Iqbal could hang around for.
When the end came for Iqbal normality kicked in again and Zimbabwe regained favouritism, with the 2 further wickets that they picked up after that I would expect Zimbabwe to go on to victory tomorrow.
Whatever the outcome tomorrow this test has shown that Zimbabwe are at least going to be able to hold their own with the (so called) test minnows, the scoreboard suggests that they have been anything but out of their depth here – and who knows, they may have another Andy Flower or two waiting around the corner.

2 thoughts on “An interesting game in Harare

  1. A quick note, if your internet connection is up to it, you can watch this game via myp2p. Zimbabwe’s batting is steady but flaky (we knew that from the WC) but I’ve been impressed by their bowling. Vitori looks a real prospect, Jarvis needs patience and a little speed but was good, and the others (especially Price) are very economical. They’ve played smart cricket, defending when they needed to, and attacking when they can (always 2+ slips, sporting declaration). Their enthusiasm despite the meagre crowd has also been great to watch. Shakib has looked a bit bereft of ideas in comparison. I expect Zimbabwe to close the game out tomorrow.

  2. Agree Russ, I made the point about the pace of Taylor’s innings, he obviously knows when to defend and attack, you could see that without pictures. From what you say it sounds like he is a good captain and Zimbabwe are a more than competent side.

    It’s also amazing how often I’ve watched England and other (so called) major test playing nations and have seen experienced players look incapable of pacing an innings.

    It was a great declaration and it has been impressive stuff from Zimbabwe and I expect to see them complete the win today.

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