By BV Swagath
Zimbabwe slipped from a solid position of 141 for 2 to 237 for 8 by Stumps on Day 1 of the Second Test against Pakistan at Harare. Things fell apart for the hosts in the final session which saw them lose five wickets for 72 runs. Junaid Khan took three wickets in the day’s play which included a wicket off the second ball of the match.
The Zimbabwean collapse began soon after Tea with Malcolm Waller (23) poking at a reversing away swinger from Junaid Khan to a diving Adnan Akmal. Very soon, the homeside found itself in trouble when the well set Brendan Taylor was adjudged lbw when he missed a sweep shot to a full ball from left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman to make it 176 for 5. Taylor finished with a personal score of 51 from 128 balls with 6 fours.
Junaid Khan scalped Wicket Keeper Richmond Mutumbani, who was caught behind edging an away swinger to the keeper while Elton Chigumbura (15) found his stumps shattered by an arm ball from Abdur Rehman which stayed low. The final wicket to fall before the close of play was that of Tinashe Panyangara (24) with the tail-ender losing his off stump to a Rahat Ali delivery with the second new ball.
The pitch was the talking point of the day’s play. It started off aiding lateral movement for the quicks with the new ball and then seemed to have flattened out after the first hour or so. There was no turn at all for Ajmal and Rehman. As the day progressed, the cracks got into play and the odd ball started to stay low and at times even rolled down before reaching the keeper.
Update at Tea on Day 1: A strong partnership between Masakadza and Taylor has carried Zimbabwe to a good looking score of 165 for 3 in 59 overs by Tea. Masakadza got out though having scored 75 (from 169 balls with 9 fours and a six). The Zimbabwean no.3 was caught low at slip after jabbing hard at a Saeed Ajmal doosra just few minutes before Tea to end a 110-run stand.
By Tea, Zimbabwe seems to have got another promising partnership going with Taylor on 48* along with Malcolm Waller who is on 18*.
Update at Lunch on Day 1: Zimbabwe are 65 for 2 in 27 overs at lunch on the opening day’s play of the Second and Final Test at Harare. The hosts got off to a terrible start losing opener Tino Mawayo in the second ball of the match, caught behind off an away going delivery from Junaid Khan.
Pakistan was attacking each and every delivery but the luck was with Zimbabwe with quite a few lbws going down. In the 17th over, Rahat Ali provided the next wicket for the visitors with Vusi Sibanda (14) dragging a pull onto the stumps. The third wicket pair of Hamilton Masakadza and Skipper Brendan Taylor somehow held things together until lunch without any further damage. Masakadza batted well for his 43 which included some clean hits off the spinners.
Toss and Teams: Zimbabwe have won the toss and elected to bat first in the Second and Final Test at Harare. Skipper Brendan Taylor returns to the team having missed out during the First Test. Sikandar Raza makes way for him while left-arm pacer Brian Vitori comes in for Shingirai Masakadza. Pakistan are playing an unchanged side.
The pitch for this match is quite underprepared. The surface has a green tinge but there are already cracks around which would open up quickly. So expect lateral movement and plenty of turn with uneven bounce from this pitch.
Zimbabwe: Tino Mawoyo, Vusi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor (C), Hamilton Masakadza, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Richmond Mutumbami (WK), Prosper Utseya, Tinashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara, Brian Vitori
Pakistan: Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (C), Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (WK), Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali