pakistan vs zimambwe

2nd Test Review between Pakistan and Zimbabwe

After winning the toss, the Pakistani team elected to bat. Zimbabwe found them toiling on a sluggish pitch for most of the day, with the ball providing no support as the two batters played out almost chanceless innings. The arrival of the new ball meant that the hosts will have plenty to look forward to the next day, with three quick-fire strikes from Blessing Muzarabani sending Azhar, Babar Azam, and Fawad Alam back before stumps were called. Nonetheless, Pakistan had gone on to 268 for 4 by that point, finishing the day in command. Abid Ali and Azhar Ali’s centuries set Pakistan in charge of the second Test at stumps in Harare. The pair combined for a 236-run second wicket partnership, a venue record, that lasted nearly the entire day.
Pakistan may have been keen to ensure that they didn’t need extra runs from the lower order, and although Azhar and Abid effectively ensured that, Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava had the better of the first hour. As they did in the first Test, the pair gave nothing away in terms of scoring chances, stifling the two openers. Imran Butt seemed unconvinced against deliveries around his off stump, with both bowlers working him over as the dot balls piled up. But it was the change of pace that succeeded, with Ngarava slamming one in short that hustled Butt as he attempted to pull over midwicket. Since he didn’t time his shot correctly, he never cleared the man, and Zimbabwe made an early breakthrough.
Pakistan resumed at a much faster pace after lunch than it had in the morning, with the hour following the break becoming particularly effective. Tiripano, one of Zimbabwe’s brightest stars in the first Test, was particularly sloppy, his lines and lengths swaying frequently as the batters picked up a boundary almost every over. Azhar excelled at creating gaps backward of square and through the midwicket sector, while Abid expertly leant on and timing the full deliveries through the covers.
The shackles were not lifted until the over before drinks in a first hour in which Zimbabwe ruled. Azhar had Donald Tiripano out for a boundary on either side of the wicket to bring the game to a close, and from then on, sloppiness crept into Zimbabwe’s game. Abid was much more circumspect than former Pakistan captain Azhar, but a loose over from Tendai Chisoro helped the opener to get a couple of fours away as well, and settle himself.
Zimbabwe persuaded the umpires to change the ball after 53 overs, but this did not result in a change of fortunes. For most of the last two sessions, the run rate played cat and mouse with the
three runs per over point, and although that made for mildly boring watching at times, the levels of focus required to look as confident as the pair did should not be overlooked. This series, Abid needed runs desperately to keep his place in the team, while Azhar, whom Pakistan had sacked as captain, continued to remind the selectors that his place in the team was safe.
Zimbabwe would be surprised that they could not retain their composure and waited for the batters to make errors with the ball doing nothing too little on give from the surface. As the session progressed, the bowlers’ anger started to emerge, resulting in even more erratic conduct.
But, after both had cruised to centuries and were looking to set themselves up for the next day, Zimbabwe responded with some class of their own. Muzarabani’s triple-strike restored some respectability to the scorecard from the bowlers’ perspective, starting when Azhar attempted to push him on the up, only to encounter a thick edge that flew to gully.
Zimbabwe ended the day as they started it – on top – but being as inefficient as they were in the center came at a price. If the Azhar and Abid Ali’s harm is to be repaired, they must pick up where they left off tomorrow morning and keep on before the final wicket is taken.

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