Bangladesh eye 3-0 test series sweep vs Zimbabwe
Chittagong, Bangladesh: Having won its third ever test cricket series, Bangladesh wants to compound Zimbabwe's misery by achieving a first 3-0 series whitewash when the last match starts on Wednesday.
Bangladesh won the first test in three days in Dhaka, and the second by 162 runs in Khulna last week, adding to a 1-0 two-test series win against the same team in 2005, and a 2-0 sweep against the West Indies in 2009. Bangladesh has been playing tests since 2000.
"They will come hard in the third match, as they have already gained much knowledge about the conditions," Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said of Zimbabwe.
"But our target is to make it 3-0, and if we play to our strength, it will not be impossible."
Zimbabwe has yielded to spin in the matches, and Bangladesh may field only one fast bowler because the Chittagong pitch tends to become slow and low.
"There is a possibility of taking one pace bowler, since the Chittagong wicket always tends to be favorable for the spinners," Rahim said. "There is not much bounce for the pacers.
"We'll take an extra batsman if we field one pacer. I don't think that we need to have one more spinner. Our three spinners have done well."
Bangladeshi spinners have taken 36 of Zimbabwe's 40 wickets, with Shakib Al Hasan leading the way with 17. His fellow left-arm spinner Taijul Islam has 15, and legspinner Jubair Hossain four.
Shakib, who became the third cricketer in test history to score a century and haul in 10 wickets in the last test, was simply unplayable for the Zimbabwe batsmen.
But Zimbabwe still hope to nullify his threat, win the test, and regain some form for the five-match, one day international series.
"We discussed in the team meeting how to find ways to counter him (Shakib)," Zimbabwe batsman Hamilton Masakadza said. "Even before coming into the test, we knew he will be a great threat."
Masakadza has resisted the spin confidently, and hit a career-best 158 in the first innings of the second test. He followed it with 61 in the second innings.
"I didn't make too many adjustments, just backing the preparations I had at home," he said. "I didn't really bat for too long in Dhaka. I just wanted to make sure that I got a start and continue to build on something.
"The spinners have bowled really well, and it's been a big struggle for us, including me. Sometimes it happens on the day that the bowl gets past the outside edge.
"I don't think that I have played that much better than my teammates, it was just my day, and I managed to carry through for my team. I am confident that the guys can bounce back."
According to Masakadza, conditions mattered a lot in their downfall in Khulna.
"It's just the conditions, its different from back home, and it's a different game playing against the Australian and South Africans," he said. "We play on pretty similar wickets (at home) but our spinners out-bowled their spinners, but that hasn't been the case here. So, I think it's just the conditions."