Vitori Five Makes It Zimbabwe's Day
Zimbabwe 294 & 121-4 (Mawoyo 58) v
Pakistan 230 (Younus 77, Vitori 5-61)
Second Test, Harare, day three
It was expected that Pakistan would bat for a large proportion of the third day in Harare and steadily build a lead over the home side. However, Brian Vitori took five wickets as they lost their last seven wickets for 48 runs.
Zimbabwe’s top-order then set about extending their hard-earnt first innings advantage of 64. They progressed well for the most part, but three late wickets let Pakistan back into the contest to ensure that a series that has been unexpectedly competitive so far remains so.
Pakistan’s overnight pairing of Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq began in the anticipated way this morning and added 19 runs to their fourth-wicket partnership of 67. However, everything changed when Zimbabwe took the second new ball. Vitori had Misbah’s long vigil brought to an end when he edged a drive to first slip. The rest of the batsmen soon followed their captain back.
Tendai Chatara bowled Asad Shafiq through the gate, with Vitori then picking up three more wickets to end with five for the first time in his short Test career. Tinashe Panyangara also chipped in with a couple, including removing Younus for 77, as Zimbabwe’s bowlers were once again impressive.
The hosts were then forced to make a change to their opening pair, with Vusi Sibanda unwell and Prosper Utseya taking his place. He didn’t last long and was sent packing by Rahat Ali for just five, but that was to be Pakistan’s sole success for a long while.
Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza set about taking the lead well into three figures. The former passed 50 to end the run of low scores that he has endured since returning from injury, while the latter gave excellent support. Both took their time, with the 114 runs taking more than 43 overs to add, but it set up a solid base from which Zimbabwe would have hoped to push on.
Unfortunately it all went pear-shaped in the final 15 minutes of the day as Mawoyo and Masakadza were removed in successive overs by Abdur Rehman and Rahat Ali. Rehman then made it three strikes by having night-watchman Tinashe Panyangara caught by Azhar Ali for a duck.
And thus, things are set up very nicely for day four. Zimbabwe are effectively 185 for four and probaly have their noses in front, especially when you bear in mind that two of those wickets are lower-order batsmen. They still have Vusi Sibanda, Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura to bat besides skipper Brendan Taylor who is currently on nought. Pakistan, meanwhile, will be hoping for a contribution from star bowler Saeed Ajmal, who has had a quiet match thus far.
© Cricket World 2013