Zimbabwe reached stumps on day four of the second Test against Bangladesh on 138 for four, still 263 runs behind after the Tigers declared with a lead of 400 on the dot earlier in the day in Harare.
The Tigers had skipper Mushfiqur Rahim to thank for much of the score of 291 for nine, with the little wicketkeeper scoring 93 before being dismissed by Hamilton Masakadza. He was well caught by Vusi Sibanda, breaking a stand of 84 with Nasir Hossain.
The hosts will need to bat with confidence on the final day to prevent a series draw, with Hamilton (46) and Shingi Masakadza (7) in the middle at the close of play, having resisted well before bad light was called.
Bangladesh started the day on 163 for five, with Rahim on 50 and Hossain on six. The lead had not yet reached 300, but Rahim soon put that milestone behind them as he batted at a good clip in the morning.
He was finally sent packing with the score on 233, leaving Hossain to carry on with building a winning lead. Zaiur Rahman fell in the next over for a duck to Graeme Cremer, but Sohag Gazi was able to stick around to prevent a collapse.
But lunch, the lead on 360, the Tigers would have been thinking about when to declare in order to give them enough time to bowl the hosts out, while also ensuring a big enough score to avoid being chased.
Gazi was not long for the middle after the lunch break though, falling to Hamilton for 11. The Tigers were determined to reach 400 though, and Hossain reached his half century off 97 balls while pushing the pace.
Sajidul Islam was the final wicket to fall for the visitors, caught behind of Shingi Masakadza, who took four wickets in the innings. With Hamilton taking three, the Masakadza brothers dominated the bowling for the hosts. Hossain was on 67 not out at the declaration.
Zimbabwe’s innings started well enough, with Sibanda and Regis Chakabvaon 36 fairly easily, but Shakib-al-Hasan had other ideas and dismissed Chakabva for 22 just before tea. This left Sibanda in the middle on 21, while Hamilton had yet to get off the mark.
The evening session saw Sibanda, Brendan Taylor and Malcolm Waller march back to the dressing room as Shakib and Rahman recorded two wickets each for the day. Taylor faced 43 balls for his 10 runs, while Waller made 15 off 21.
The final hour and a bit saw the brothers bat at snails pace, more concerned with seeing out the day than scoring runs. It was an interesting decision to send Shingi in with 15 overs to go as a night watchman, but he coped well with the task and faced 30 balls without incident.