DHAKA (AFP) – Taijul Islam shone with bat and ball as Bangladesh scored a tense three-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the first Test on Monday to grab the lead in the three-match series.
The 22-year-old left-arm spinner became the first Bangladesh bowler to claim eight wickets in an innings, his figures of 8-39 helping to skittle Zimbabwe for 114 in the second innings.
Set a modest target of 101, Bangladesh slipped to 0-3 before Taijul, coming in at 82-7, guided his team home with an unbeaten 15 amid mounting tension on the third day at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka.
Taijul, who put on an unbroken stand of 19 with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (23 not out), was named the man of the match in only his third Test appearance.
It was Bangladesh’s fifth Test win in 86 matches and only the second at home after the 226-run win against the same opponents in Chittagong in 2005.
The two lowest-ranked teams in Test cricket – Zimbabwe at number nine and Bangladesh at 10 – will resume battle when the second Test opens in Khulna on November 3.
Taijul eclipsed team-mate Shakib Al Hasan’s Bangladeshi record of 7-36 against New Zealand at Chittagong in 2008 as he spun out the Zimbabwe batsmen after the tourists resumed at 5-0.
Skipper Brendan Taylor was the only Zimbabwean to resist Taijul and the other bowlers, making an unbeaten 45, as six batsmen failed to reach double figures.
A relieved Rahim said his team needed an all-round improvement despite the win.
“We are not where we want to be but a win is a win,” he said. “There are a lot of areas we need to improve on. We need to get better in both batting and bowling.
“Taijul has been wonderful, but the others also contributed. It was a team effort, but we need to play a big innings and make it count.”
Elton Chigumbura claimed four for 21 as Bangladesh almost messed up what should have been a simple chase even on the deteriorating pitch.
Having lost the top three batsmen without a run on the board, the hosts buckled under pressure before Rahim and Taijul bailed them out.
Taylor attributed the defeat to bad batting.
“All credit to Bangladesh but we were mentally weak with the bat,” the Zimbabwean captain said. “We can’t win Tests if we bat like this.
“At least the bowlers showed a lot of character. You have to have the mindset that you can win from any situation. We started well and had them three down but put down a few chances.
“We need to make big scores because these 20s and 30s don’t help. But I am sure we will come back stronger in the next Test.”