Pakistan Move Into Strong Position On Day Of Drama
Zimbabwe 412 & 135-8 (Taibu 58no) v
Pakistan 466 (Mohammad Hafeez 119)
Only Test, Bulawayo, day four
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Zimbabwe will start the final day of their only Test against Pakistan in Bulawayo 81 runs ahead with just two second-innings wickets remaining following a dramatic fourth day.
After Pakistan were bowled out for 466 replying to 412, Zimbabwe closed the day on 135 for eight after Mohammad Hafeez took four wickets.
Tatenda Taibu's unbeaten 58 remains a stumbling block for Pakistan and his removal is paramount to a victory that until the afternoon, did not look remotely possible.
Younus Khan fell for 88 before Adnan Akmal (36) and Saeed Ajmal (28) made useful contributions to give Pakistan the lead; Chris Mpofu making short work of the tail to return two for 64 while the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe was debutant Greg Lamb, who took three for 120.
Pakistan did not have to wait long to get among the wickets themselves as Ajmal struck to remove first-innings centurion Tino Mawayo for 12 and Brendan Taylor for five while debutant Aizaz Cheema dismissed Vusi Sibanda for five and Hamilton Masakadza for eight.
Hafeez, who made 119 in Pakistan's innings, then continued a fine all-round game with a devastating spell that saw him pick up the wickets of Craig Ervine (6), Lamb (7), Ray Price (0) and Brian Vitori (7). Ervine and Lamb, who had both done well to support Mawoyo in the first innings, were both trapped in front, Price was bowled and Vitori was caught by Taufeeq Umar.
All the while, Taibu played a lone hand, hitting five fours and one six in his 125 balls faced so far and he will have Kyle Jarvis, who has already scored a valuable 20, for company when the match enters its final day.
Jarvis and Taibu came together with the score on a desperate 69 for eight - a lead of just 15. From that position, they battled admirably to at least keep the outcome of the match in doubt, although Pakistan will go into the final day as favourites.
© Cricket World 2011