Zimbabwe Fight Hard But Pakistan Remain Ahead
Zimbabwe 294 (Junaid 4-67) v
Pakistan 163-3 (Younus 52no)
Second Test, Harare, day two
Zimbabwe once again held their own in Harare, but Pakistan are well placed at the end of day two to establish a decisive advantage tomorrow. Khurram Manzoor hit a half-century after the hosts’ tail had wagged in the morning, before Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq began to build a partnership that looks ominous for Zimbabwe.
Resuming on 237 for eight and with all expectations of a quick end to their first innings, Zimbabwe’s last two wickets actually added a further 57 runs. The last-wicket pair of Brian Vitori and Tendai Chatara both made Test best scores and added 46 before the latter was trapped leg-before by Abdur Rehman (3-47) to end the innings at 294.
Zimbabwe’s bowlers were then once again disciplined, as in the first Test, but they really lack the wicket-taking threat of their opponents; a point that has been made extensively by those present at the ground during this series. Perhaps their most exciting bowler is left-arm quick Vitori, and it was he who took the first wicket, ending Mohammad Hafeez’s sprightly little knock at 22.
Azhar Ali was then trapped LBW by Tinashe Panyangara having made just seven, but Younus Khan joined Khurram Manzoor and the pair took things through until tea. However, just after the resumption, Manzoor was sent back by Younus and failed to beat the throw from Elton Chigumbura to be run out for a dogged 51.
At 96 for three, it was a crucial stage of the match, with Pakistan’s best two batsmen now at the crease. They, though, drew on all of their experience and have probably done enough to end any realistic hopes that the home side have of winning this contest. As the old cliché goes, the first session tomorrow will be crucial, but Younus and Misbah will reckon to survive that and press on to establish a match-winning lead. The former is already on 52 to follow on from his unbeaten double-hundred last week, while Misbah has 27.
Zimbabwe’s bowlers were all relatively tidy, with the only disappointment perhaps being off-spinner Prosper Utseya. There are those who would have preferred to see the more aggressive option of leg-spinner Natsai Mushangwe picked for this match, but it is worth noting that Pakistan’s batsmen are good players of spin and that Ajmal didn’t exactly run through the Zimbabwe line-up with the ball on day one and actually ended with an economy rate that is almost identical to Utseya’s.
© Cricket World 2013