Zimbabwe Make Poor Case For Return To Test Cricket
Zimbabwe 209 (Taylor 64, Afridi 4-37) & 111-6 v
PCB Patron's XI
479-6 declared (N Jamshed 182, Naumanullah 86)
On the same day that Zimbabwean spinner Ray Price expressed his hope that his side would be back playing Tests by May, his side were fighting to avoid an innings defeat against the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Patron's XI on the third day of a four-day tour game in Karachi.
In reply to Zimbabwe's 209, the PCB side declared on 479 for six before reducing Zimbabwe to 111 for six in their second innings, with the tourists hardly making a convincing case for a possible to return to the highest level of the game.
Price, at least, proved he was up to the challenge, taking four wickets for 130, the only wickets to fall on day three before his side's top order was rocked by three wickets each by opening bowlers Sohail Khan and Samiullah Khan.
"I know we are trying to start playing test cricket again in May when India comes. But obviously our board will decide whether we are ready to go back," Price said after the match.
"We are very positive about ourselves. Recently we had a very good tour of South Africa where we won all four games. We have won some good matches in recent months.
"We need more four-day games to give more time in the middle to our batters and bowlers," the experienced Price added.
Successful tour of South Africa against some plucky, but mediocre sides, notwithstanding, Test cricket is a different ball game altogether and aside from a dogged knock of 44 from opener Hamilton Masakadza and Price's bowling early in the day, there was little on show to suggest that Zimbabwe were ready for a return.
A final decision on a schedule for a return will be taken by the Zimbabwean cricket board after consulting with the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Zimbabwe are currently only playing one-day internationals after the board's self-imposed exile from Tests and are in Pakistan for a tour of five one-day internationals, with the opening match starting on January 21st.
© Cricket World 2008