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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 08:41 GMT
Bashar leads way for Bangladesh
First Test, Chittagong day one: Bangladesh 280-4 (close) v Zimbabwe

Habibul Bashar
Bashar struck 14 fours in his 128-ball innings

Captain Habibul Bashar missed out on a century on an otherwise satisfactory opening day for Bangladesh in the first Test against Zimbabwe in Chittagong.

Bashar became Christopher Mpofu's first Test victim when he was caught behind for 94 shortly before the close, which arrived with the home side on 280-4.

Nafis Iqbal (56) gave them a good start and Rajin Saleh (60 not out) helped Bashar add 119 for the fourth wicket.

Mluleki Nkala was Zimbabwe's best bowler, taking 2-22 from 18 overs.

Bangladesh are looking for their first victory since being granted Test status in 2000.

And they began the game with every chance of doing so against an inexperienced Zimbabwe side playing their first Test for six months and featuring three new caps in Barney Rogers, Graeme Cremer and Mpofu.

The early part of the day was dominated by the home side as Nafis Iqbal and Javed Omar put on 91 for the first wicket despite some tidy seam bowling from Doug Hondo and Nkala.

Nafis reached his second Test fifty off 110 balls, including nine fours, but lost partner Omar for 33 when he was caught behind off Elton Chigumbura.

Zimbabwe were soon celebrating again as the first ball of the 40th over, bowled by Nkala, saw Nafis well taken by Vusi Sibanda for 56.

Bashar responded with some positive strokeplay and Mohammad Ashraful helped add 56 for the third wicket before he was brilliantly caught by Hamilton Masakadza at leg gully for 19 as he tucked the last ball before tea away off his hip.

It's the best day since I took responsibility for the team
Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore

Bangladesh were 153-3 at tea and raised the tempo following the re-start as Saleh joined his captain in taking the attack to Zimbabwe.

Cremer's first taste of Test cricket proved uncomfortable as his 11 overs cost 56, and although fellow leg-spinner Stuart Matsikenyeri commanded greater respect, a fourth Test century was there for the taking for Bashar.

He moved into the 90s with a single and a four, pulled to long leg off Mpofu, but chased the next ball outside off stump and wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu claimed the nick.

It left Aftab Ahmed to come out for the final three overs and he kept Saleh company to finish on six not out.

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (captain), Khaled Mashud, Nafis Iqbal, Javed Omar, Mohammed Ashraful, Rajin Saleh, Aftab Ahmed, Mohammed Rafique, Enamul Haque, Tapash Baishya and Mashrafe bin Mortaza.

Zimbabwe: Tatenda Taibu (captain), Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Barney Rogers, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Graeme Cremer, Christopher Mpofu, Douglas Hondo, Mluleki Nkala.

Umpires: T Wijewardena (Sri), Asad Rauf (Pkn)

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