Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah consolidate Bangladesh’s position

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Lunch Bangladesh 365 for 5 (Mushfiqur 135*, Mahmudullah 35*, Jarvis 3-56) v Zimbabwe

Bangladesh extended their innings on an attritional second morning in Mirpur, Mushfiqur Rahim laying down anchor to go to lunch unbeaten on 135 from 307 deliveries. With Mahmudullah providing able support in a stand of 66 for the sixth wicket, Bangladesh reached 365 for 5 at the interval and looked set to bat deep into the day.

Once again, Zimbabwe’s catching let them down when it really mattered. In the fourth over of the morning, Tendai Chatara found the inside edge of Mushfiqur’s bat with an offcutter, the ball ricocheting off his thigh on the way through to Regis Chakabva behind the stumps. The Zimbabwe wicketkeeper tumbled to his right, but spilled the chance.

Worse still for the visitors, soon afterwards Chatara pulled up short running up to bowl the third delivery of his 22nd of the innings, clutching his left thigh and wincing in pain. He was stretchered off with a suspected grade 2 quadriceps muscle strain, and Zimbabwe lost a leader of their attack for the remainder of the match.

The batting pair – and particularly Mushfiqur – ground down the rest of the bowlers in Chatara’s absence. Mushfiqur faced 55 deliveries in the session before he hit his first boundary. There was no hint of the impatient or limited-overs batting style that blighted Bangladesh’s efforts in the first Test, and Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah progressed through the morning very much in Test mode.

There were four maidens in the first hour before Mahmudullah broke free with back to back boundaries off Donald Tiripano, and it was only as the lunch interval neared that Mushfiqur started to impose himself a little more.

Mushfiqur took an hour and a half to score his first ten runs of the day, but then unfurled the sweep shot to good effect against Zimbabwe’s spinners, collecting boundaries off Sean Williams and Brandon Mavuta before umpire Kumar Dharmasena called the players off for lunch. The batting pair only took 62 runs from the first session, but more importantly, they did not allow Zimbabwe a breakthrough.

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