SYLHET - Zimbabwe thumped Bangladesh by 151 runs in the first of two Tests, bowling the home side out for 143 and 169 to script victory within four days on Tuesday.
The significance of the victory - their first in five years in the format - was not lost on Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput.
“Even big Test playing countries come here and struggle to beat Bangladesh in Bangladesh– it's a huge win for us, psychologically, mentally,” said Rajput.
“This will definitely revive Zimbabwean cricket.
“We have started believing that we can't only win at home, we can win abroad as well. This is the first step and we need to kick on from here. The way that we came back after the ODI series 3-0 whitewash, we were really prepared for it. I'm happy that the boys have done justice to their talent. It's a great day for us.”
The road to victory started with Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Williams scoring half-centuries to take Zimbabwe to 282 and then Tendai Chatara and Sikandar Raza returning three-fors to shoot Bangladesh out for 143. Taijul Islam’s 11 for the Test then set up a 321-run chase, but all Bangladesh managed was 169 – Raza picking up 3/41 and Brandon Mavuta 4/21.
None of the Bangladesh batsmen hit a half-century across two innings. Ariful Haque in the first dig and Imrul Kayes in the second were the only ones to top 40. It was a far from ideal show with the bat.
Sticking to the subject of Zimbabwe cricket’s revival, Rajput added: “Teams around the world will know that Zimbabwe is getting back to the team they were earlier. If you look at Zimbabwean cricket in the 90s, they had a fantastic team. This win will definitely revive that, bring the confidence of players, and I think it's a great thing for the Zimbabwe board, because the board has really persisted with these players.
“They have been patient, and now the day has come. I'm sure everyone back home, the Zimbabwe board, the public and the whole country will be proud of this.”
Rajput, the former India opener, indicated that the difference between the two sides was in the hunger of the visitors.
“We were hungry to win. We wanted really badly to win the match because we had been losing in previous games. That was a key area, because if you're hungry for success, you'll do well,'“ he said.
“Over the years, Zimbabwe have not been doing well in Test cricket, they've had their problems. But when you win, all these problems are pushed aside.”
African News Agency (ANA)