Tigers' eyes on record
A feisty performance from Bangladesh's spinners against Zimbabwe may have already secured the Test series for the Tigers, there is still a lot to play for when the teams clash at the port city of Chittagong today in the third and final Test.While Bangladesh aim to get their best ever series result in Test cricket, 3-0, and gain a healthy lead over bottom-ranked Zimbabwe, the visitors on the other hand have their pride at stake. As the Tigers managed to eke out a Test win last year at Harare, the Zimbabweans would definitely want to take one back. The only time that Zimbabwe won a Test in Bangladesh was back in November of 2001 in this very city.
It's a statistic that the visitors want to change. Their target however, would be an extremely difficult one to achieve, mainly for two reasons and the spin factor is the first one.
Of the 350 wickets taken by bowlers at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, 228 of them have fallen to spinners, which is two times that of the pacers. Bangladesh's spinners have so far taken 36 wickets in two matches which is the highest ever for the Tigers in a Test series. If they manage to take 15 more scalps in this Test, it will be the most dominating spin performance put in by any Test team in a three-match series.To make matters worse for the visitors, Chittagong happens to be a happy hunting ground for ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who just needs two more wickets to take the highest number of wickets in a series for Bangladesh. He is the highest wicket-taker at this ground and also his best bowling figures of 7 for 36 came here in 2008.
The second factor is that the wicket at Chittagong tends to support the batsmen and barely has anything in it for the pacers. So even if they can counter the spin, the visitors' lack of depth in spin will make it hard for them to bowl Bangladesh out twice. The 12 matches played here have seen 23 centuries, four double-centuries and one triple century. The ground has also witnessed six 500-plus scores. As teams pile on the runs, matches at this ground generally tend to head for a draw. Bangladesh have drawn four out of the eight Tests here.While the odds favour the hosts, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim reckoned that it would be a difficult task to complete a 3-0 whitewash. "It's a rare feeling for us and it has never happened before. But the reality is that a win in this Test is going to be more difficult than the first two. They [Zimbabwe] have been here for three weeks now and have probably adjusted to our conditions well.
"Nevertheless we are prepared both mentally and physically and we are going to try our best to complete the 3-0 sweep," said Mushfiqur at the stadium yesterday.
Bangladesh are expected to make two changes to their side today. Pacer Shafiul Islam is expected to come in for Shahadat Hossain while Imrul Kayes is expected to replace Shamsur Rahman at the top.Zimbabwe on the other hand are expected to field the same side.