Harare: Pakistan’s collapse against the second new ball and determined batting from Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza put Zimbabwe slightly ahead in the second and final Test. Zimbabwe’s fast bowlers ripped through Pakistan on either side of lunch, the visitors collapsing from 211 for 4 to 230 all out. Mawoyo and Masakadza then built the lead to 185, but their dismissals, at the stroke of stumps, helped Pakistan to claw back.
Brian Vitori, in his first Test in nearly 20 months, did most of the damage with the ball, claiming his maiden five-wicket haul, while Tinashe Panyangara dislodged the solid Younis Khan for 77. Zimbabwe’s efforts earned them a 64-run lead, to go along with a 78-run first-innings advantage in the first Test.
Pakistan’s strategy in the morning seemed to be to try and get through to the ball change, due in 12 overs at the start, with their overnight pair of Misbah and Younis. That was a sensible thought, the pair having added 67 in a rebuilding effort the previous evening. But the manner in which both executed that strategy stalled Pakistan. Only 19 runs were added in the 12 overs leading up to the new ball, five of them from part-timer Elton Chigumbura.
Admittedly, as on the previous day, run-scoring wasn’t easy on the pitch. The ball wasn’t quite coming on, the medium-pace and disciplined lengths of the Zimbabwe seamers weren’t helping and the cracks on the good length area would have been on the minds of the batsmen. Still, 48 runs from 28 overs in the morning session was too sluggish a scoring rate.
After successfully making it to the new ball in his chosen way, Misbah decided to change his approach. The second delivery Vitori bowled with the new one, a wide one outside off, Misbah lunged to drive and edged to first slip for 33 from 120 balls. It was the third successive time in the series Misbah had fallen after getting a start and also the third successive time he had given it away trying a forcing stroke against the run of play.
Asad Shafiq hung around for a while before he was bowled by a sharp incutter from Tendai Chatara, stuck on the crease in a dismissal identical to the way he had gone in the second innings of the first Test.
Pakistan ran only eight singles in the first session and went to lunch on 211 for 5, still 83 behind Zimbabwe’s 294. After the break, Younis came out appearing intent to make amends for Pakistan’s sedate start. He drove at everything that was pitched up. Panyangara gave him three successive such deliveries, wide outside off, all of which were driven. The fourth one was bowled into the pad. Younis, with his instinct to push forward, could not keep the flick down and midwicket took the catch.
It was mostly down to Adnan Akmal now, Abdur Rehman having gone lbw first ball to Panyangara. But unlike the second innings of the first Test, the wicketkeeper disappointed. He was beaten on the drive by Vitori, bowling from round the wicket, but went for a similar expansive stroke next ball, and was taken at second slip. Unlike Zimbabwe’s last pair, there was absolutely no resistance from Pakistan’s tail, Vitori snapping up the last two to end with 5 for 61.
Zimbabwe were hampered at the start of their second innings, the ill Vusi Sibanda unable to open. The offspinner Prosper Utseya, who usually bats at No. 8, was promoted instead, but did not last long. Mawoyo and Masakadza, though, hung in to get through the 14 overs till tea. The often unplayable zip and movement Junaid Khan had generated in the first innings was absent, and that allowed the duo to settle in. Both drove well off the front foot, especially against the spinners.
There were a few hiccups after tea, chiefly against Rehman. But luck favoured Zimbabwe. Masakadza played back and was beaten off two successive pitched-up deliveries from Rehman that stayed low, but just missed off stump. Rehman got the odd ball to kick from around the same spot, but was unlucky to miss the edge. When he found it, with Mawoyo on 52, Adnan dropped the catch.
Rehman’s perseverance finally brought him just reward, with only two more overs left, as Mawoyo was trapped in front on 58 with an arm ball. Four deliveries later, Rahat rapped Masakadza on the pad, and umpire Steve Davis upheld the appeal, replays suggesting the ball may have missed off on the angle. Two deliveries later, Rehman struck again, having the nightwatchman Chatara pop one to short leg. Zimbabwe’s lead was 15 short of 200, but Rehman had ensured Pakistan were still in the game.
Zimbabwe 294 and 121 for 4 (Mawoyo 58) lead Pakistan 230 (Younis 77, Manzoor 51, Vitori 5-61) by 185 runs