Seasoned batsman Mushfiqur Rahim showed an unwavering resolve to hit an epic double century as Bangladesh firmly remained on course of a dominating victory over Zimbabwe in the one-off Test.
The former captain hit 203 not out, helping Bangladesh declare their first innings on 560-6, their third best Test total after which off-spinner Nayeem Hasan reduced Zimbabwe to 9-2 in the rest of the five over at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Monday.By the end of the day three, Zimbabwe, who was bowled out for 265 in its first innings, is still trailing by 286 runs to make Bangladesh batting twice in this match.
Mushfiqur played 318 balls for this 203, with the help of 28 boundaries, last of which, a fierce cut past point brought up his third double century off 315 balls.
His highest Test score 219, which still remains the best individual score by a Bangladeshi batsman also came against this Zimbabwe side in 2018.
Mushfiqur hit his first double century, also the first by Bangladeshi batsman against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2013.
Only two Bangladeshi batsmen-Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal–hit double century in Test cricket but they didn’t do it more than once.
Skipper Mominul Haque contributed 132 runs while Nazmul Hossaon Shanto made 71. Liton Das was the other notable scorer with 53.Resuming the day on 240-3, Mushfiqur and Mominul, the overnight duo piled a host of misery on the visitors, leaving them in clueless state.
The incumbent and former captain kept them unscathed throughout the morning session to indicate a bigger things.
Mominul brought up his first century as captain with an intriguing cover-drive for boundary against Donald Tiripano off 154 balls. His ninth career century saw him level Tamim Iqbal as the highest century-maker for Bangladesh.
While Tamim’s nine centuries came in 60 matches, Mominul reached here in his 40th match.
In the wake of huge criticism following Bangladesh batsmen’s tendency of not playing big innings, Mominul literally challenged the critics by vowing that a big century is on the card by any Bangladeshi batsman in this Test.
And it proved to be preciously right. He himself seemed to have driven mostly by self-imposed challenge and didn’t celebrate much after reaching the three-figure mark.
While Mominul showed his calm demeanor, Mushfiqur Rahim played shots at will around the park.
Just after the lunch, Mushfiqur Rahim brought up his seventh Test ton with a powerful cut for a boundary against Ainsley Ndlovu off 160 balls and grew with strength to strength.
He hit Donald Tiripano three straight boundaries afterwards to indicate a bigger thing for him.
But Zimbabwe found a way to hit back to the match after a barren morning session as Ndlovu removed Mominul Haque with an excellent return catch for his maiden Test wicket, bringing an end to the 222-run partnership between him and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Mominul by then struck 14 boundaries in his 234 ball-132 runs.
Ndlovu further was rewarded for his tight line and length when he had Mohammad Mithun caught by wicket-keeper Regis Chakabva for 17.
Mushfiqur remained unfazed by the two quick wicket falls around him as he kept scoreboard ticking.
Liton Das meanwhile was bit shaky but once he opened his account on the 13th delivery he faced, he looked comfortable all the way. He and Mushfiqur Rahim combined for a 121-run partnership before Liton was removed for 53.
Mushfiqur by then was on the verge of his double century. He got an ably support from Taijul Islam to bring up his third double century and also made him the highest run-getter for Bangladesh with 4413, eclipsing Tamim Iqbal’s 4405.
Ndlovu ended with figures of 2-170 while Donald Tiripano, Victor Nyauchi, Sikandar Raza and Charlton Tshuma picked up one wicket apiece for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe though complained for the lack of light, umpires decided to play the rest of the five overs of the day.
Nayeem Hasan who tormented Zimbabwe in first inning with 4-70, dealt a double blow in consecutive deliveries in first over, leaving Zimbabwe 2-0. Brendan Taylor (1*) denied him from hat-trick and helped Zimbabwe see off the day without further trouble alongside opener Kevin Kasuza (8*).
Nayeem ended with figures of 3-1-4-2.