Pakistan 249 all out (Azhar Ali 78, Misbah-ul-Haq 53; Tendai Chatara 3-64, Tinashe Panyangara 3-71, Shingirai Masakadza 2-40, Prosper Utseya 2-55)
Zimbabwe 281 for 7 (Malcolm Waller 70, Sikandar Raza Butt 60; Saeed Ajmal 4-71, Junaid Khan 2-65)
Zimbabwe lead by 32 runs.
Zimbabwe will be hoping to add to their overnight first innings lead of 32 runs, when play resumes on the third day of the first Zong Presents Haier Cup Test match against Pakistan.
At the end of the day’s play at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday, Zimbabwe were 281 for seven in their first innings, in replay to Pakistan’s 249 all out. The bedrock of the innings was the fourth-wicket partnership between Malcolm Waller and debutant Sikandar Raza Butt which yielded 127 runs for the hosts.
Zimbabwe welcomed the stand after their innings had stumbled on 68. After losing in the ninth over the returning Tinotenda Mawoyo (13), turning out in his first match since the groin injury during the West Indies tour in March, Zimbabwe had their two most experienced batsmen at the crease, in opener Vusimuzi Sibanda and number three Hamilton Masakadza.
They seemed to be working their way towards a solid platform for the Zimbabwe response until the last ball of the 27th over when Junaid Khan’s pace forced Sibanda (31) to nick to wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal. Pace changed to spin with the next ball, and still the same result: Masakadza bowled by Saeed Ajmal for 19 runs.
And with just two balls, Zimbabwe had moved from 25 to one to 68 for two to 68 for three. And this when the usually reliable Brendan Taylor was not waiting to get in but away in a maternity ward, waiting for son Mason to get out!
However, Waller and Raza Butt went a long way to lessen the impact of the captain’s absence.
Waller top-scored with 70 runs made from 100 balls, 14 of them fours, before he was caught by Mohammad Hafeez off the bowling of Ajmal. Waller’s half-century was his third in seven Test matches.
Playing against his country of birth, Raza Butt did not show nerves in his first ever Test match for Zimbabwe. He recorded his first Test half-century but could only add 10 more runs before he drove another Ajmal delivery to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
There was hope that number six Elton Chigumbura would find a partner to bat through to the end of the day’s play but wicket-keeper Richmond Mutumbami perished leg before wicket to Ajmal after a run-a-ball 13, then a promising partnership with Prosper Utseya ended when he was bowled by Rahat Ali for 16.
Ajmal was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers, finishing with figures of four for 77 in 26 overs. Khan had two for 61 in 20 overs, six of them maiden.
Zimbabwe will resume batting on Thursday morning with Chigumbura on 40 and Shingirai Masakadza two.