Dhaka, Bangladesh: Taijul Islam set a national record with his eight-wicket haul and then struck a crucial 15 runs in the lower order to help Bangladesh overcome a spirited Zimbabwe by three wickets Monday in a tense finish to the first cricket test.
Bangladesh reached the winning target of 101 after batting collapses at the start and near the end of the innings that threatened to derail the chase. Islam, who took 8-39 in Zimbabwe's second innings, later produced an innings that guided the home team to victory after it was reduced to 82-7 and under threat of losing the match. He stroked the winning boundary off Elton Chigumbura through backward square leg to ensure Bangladesh's fifth test victory, and third against Zimbabwe.
It all happened after Bangladesh made the worst start to a fourth innings in test history when it lost its first three wickets before scoring a run. Mahmudullah remained calm and was the top-scorer in the last innings with 28, sharing an innings-saving 46-run stand with Shakib Al-Hasan to get the hosts back on track, while skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was unbeaten on 23.
Chigumbura finished the innings with figures of 4-21 while Tinashe Panyangra had 2-30. Both of them bowled with considerable aggression to skittle the Bangladeshi top order after Zimbabwe was dismissed for 114.
Wickets tumbled late in the evening session as Zimbabwe clawed its way back into contention with Chigumbura removing Mahmudullah and Shuvagata Hom (0) in the space of just three balls.
But Islam held the nerve, helped by Rahim's composed innings. "We are not where we want to be but the boys played very well and a win is a win," Rahim said. "There are a lot of areas to improve on -- in both batting and bowling,"
"To win tests you have to play big innings to make it count." It was Bangladesh's first win this year against a test nation. In the last 25 International matches, the Bangladesh team had just two wins against ICC associate teams -- Nepal and Afghanistan in Twenty20.
Earlier, Islam returned Bangladesh's best ever single-innings figures, beating the 7-36 by fellow left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan against New Zealand at Chittagong in 2008.
It was Islam's second career five-wicket haul after his 5-135 on debut against the West Indies in September. "Thanks to everyone who supported me - captain, support staff. I'll try to get better in the future," he said. "I only wanted to support (Rahim) in the test and didn't want to do anything wrong."