Sylhet: Sean Williams and skipper Hamilton Masakadza made gritty fifties on a good day one pitch at Sylhet, but Bangladesh's spinners bowled with nagging accuracy to give their team a slight advantage.
Masakadza, the captain, led the way from the front looking solid and holding fort through the first session, while Williams took over the mantle in the second session, but the Bangladesh bowlers were not to be deterred.
The spinners and even paceman Abu Jayed bowled with energy and gusto to keep making timely inroads. The day finished with Zimbabwe at 236/5, giving Bangladesh the edge.
The day started on a positive note for Zimbabwe as Masakadza won the toss and opted for first strike on a good-looking wicket in a brand new Test venue.
Taijul struck either side of the first drinks break, first sending back opener Brian Chari when he went for a slog in just the 11th over of the day and ended up being bowled, and then accounting for Brendan Taylor, catching the edge off the defensive prod for Nazmul Hossain to take a sharp catch short leg.
That was in the 17th over, but Masakadza and Williams made sure Zimbabwe went to lunch without further damage, the captain getting to his eighth Test half-century – to go with five centuries – shortly before the break.
Masakadza couldn’t add to his 52 after lunch, though, as Jayed got one to curve into the Zimbabwe captain and trap him in front.
A short partnership worth 44 runs between Williams and Sikandar Raza ensued, before debutant left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam found a way through Raza’s defence to peg back his stumps. Raza went for 19 and, with Williams bringing up his half-century, Zimbabwe went to tea at 149/4.
Williams was the best batsman on the day. His footwork against the spinners was assured and he didn't shy away from cashing in on the odd lose delivery. Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah picked up Williams wicket, getting a thick edge to first slip, where Mehedi Hasan took an excellent catch, Zimbabwe slipping to 201/5.
One expected things to unravel from Zimbabwe thereon particularly with bowlers delivering with renewed vigour, but Peter Moor – who was extremely cautious early in his innings – and Regis Chakabva put on a very impressive show.