SYLHET: Sean Williams and skipper Hamilton Masakadza slammed a fifty each as Zimbabwe made 236-5 on the opening day of the first Test against Bangladesh in Sylhet on Saturday.
Williams top-scored with 88 off 179 balls after Masakadza hit 52 in his 105-ball knock to lay the initial foundation for Zimbabwe at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, which was hosting its maiden Test.
Bangladesh made some regular breakthroughs, mostly by their spinners, but lacked the penetrating power to completely unsettle the visiting side playing their first Test in 2018.
Williams received some support from Peter Moor as the duo shared 72 runs for the fifth wicket after the Bangladesh spinners looked to have slowly gained control.
Skipper Mahmudullah denied Williams his second Test century when he forced the left-hander to give a catch at slip to Mehidy Hasan after hitting nine fours in his patient knock.
“I think it’s a very good Test wicket. Couple of the balls were turning and bouncing and couple of them were keeping quite low and skidding through with the arm,” Williams said.
“After a few days, maybe day three or four you’re going to start to see a little more turn and up and down bounce.”
Moor, who was reprieved on nine by the TV umpire after being initially given leg before wicket off fast bowler Abu Jayed, survived the day with 37 runs.
He was being accompanied by Regis Chakabva on 20 at stumps.
The opening session belonged to Masakadza, who won the toss and opted to bat, and Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, with the latter claiming two wickets before finishing the day with 2-36.
Masakadza led the early charge with two sixes off Taijul and four fours but could have been dismissed by debutant medium pacer Arfiul Haque if Bangladesh had reviewed a leg before appeal.
The field umpire had turned down the appeal but replay indicated that the ball had hit the stumps after pitching outside off.
Bangladesh had earlier reviewed a leg before appeal against Brian Chari off spinner Taijul in vain, as the replay showed that the ball took a feather touch on the bat before hitting the pad.
Taijul soon bowled Chari, who tried to play with a cross bat but failed to connect the ball, with a flatter delivery that kept low.
The spinner then had Brendan Taylor caught by Nazmul Hossain at forward short leg.
Jayed dismissed Masakadza in the first over of second session, hitting the batsman plumb on his back foot a leg before out.
Debutant left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam bowled Sikandar Raza for 19 for his maiden wicket to give Bangladesh their second success in the session.
Bangladesh left out Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Shafiul Islam, Khaled Ahmed and handed a Test debut to all-rounder Ariful and left-arm spinner Nazmul.
Brandon Mavuta and Wellington Masakadza are also making their Test debut for Zimbabwe.