Coca Cola Test, Day 2 in Bulawayo: Pakistan 116 for 1 (Hafeez 79*) trail Zimbabwe 412 (Mawoyo 163*, Cheema 4-79, Ajmal 4-143) by 296 runs.
Tino Mawoyo today earned himself a place in Zimbabwe cricket history by carrying his bat right through the innings of 412 against Pakistan. He was the third Zimbabwean to achieve this feat in a Test match, following Mark Dekker and Grant Flower – and all against Pakistan.
His innings of 163 not out was the highest of the three; it took him 645 minutes, the third-longest Test innings by a Zimbabwean following Dave Houghton and Flower who both passed 200 in those innings; he faced 453 balls and hit 20 fours. He held the Zimbabwe innings together and was mainly responsible for the fine position the team were in at the end of it. Unfortunately in the final session Zimbabwe’s seamers were taken for a brisk knock and Pakistan were able to make a strong reply. Mohammad Hafeez treated the poor fare he was served with such disdain that Zimbabwe did not seem to have finished the day in a favorable manner.
Zimbabwe resumed their innings at 245 for four, with Tino Mawoyo (on 82) and Craig Ervine at the crease. The first target was Mawoyo’s century and he was taking no chances, batting with the greatest of care. The pair batted steadily, with Ervine doing most of the scoring, until, on 49, Ervine tried to tuck a short ball from Junaid Khan to leg, but only succeeded in lobbing an easy return catch off the shoulder of the bat. Zimbabwe were now 270 for five and the pair had added 94.
Mawoyo at this stage was on 96, and he remained in double figures for another 40 minutes as the crowd willed him on to his century. He nearly went on 97, as he mistook a yorker from Saeed Ajmal for a full toss and drove over the top of it. It just missed the stumps and was in fact a difficult stumping chance. He was on 99 when drinks were taken, but he finally tucked a single to leg off Junaid to reach three figures. His century, in only his second Test match, took him 448 minutes and 327 balls.
After this Mawoyo began to play with a little more freedom, but never looked like relaxing his concentration for a moment. Most notable were the occasional but very handsome drives between the bowler and extra cover, all exquisitely timed along the ground. Zimbabwe took lunch on 314 for five, with Mawoyo on 117; they had scored only 69 runs in the session, but had shown great determination.
After lunch Mawoyo and the debutant Greg Lamb carried their partnership to 95 before Lamb, after a very determined innings, was trapped lbw by Ajmal for 39. The score was now 365 for six, and this was the beginning of the end, as the bowlers were now into Zimbabwe’s long tail. Brian Vitori, with an aggressive 14 off 17 balls, was the most useful of the last four, although the local hero and last man Chris Mpofu had the crowd rejoicing as he slogged a big six off Ajmal to carry the score past 400. But when he was comprehensively bowled by Aizaz Cheema, Zimbabwe were all out for 412 and Mawoyo had carried his bat in triumph for 163. Cheema, the best of the pacemen, took the four tail-end wickets to finish with four for 79, but certainly the bowler who troubled the Zimbabweans the most was Ajmal, who finished with four for 143. It was a poor reward, but the batsmen had played him with great determination.
When Pakistan replied, Kyle Jarvis struck in his first over, trapping Taufeeq Umar lbw for 4. Zimbabwe might have struck again, but Brendan Taylor at second slip dropped a hard low chance from Mohammad Hafeez off Vitori. There were quite a number of loose deliveries, and the score moved along rapidly; even Vitori was not as accurate as usual. Unlike in the Zimbabwe innings, though, the run rampage continued and the bowlers were unable to contain the flood; the 50 came up in the ninth over, mostly from the bat of Hafeez. He took no risks but simply took advantage of the of the number of bad balls he got.
Raymond Price was brought on to bowl the 13th over, which was a maiden, and Hafeez was slowed down in full flight. Vitori’s second spell was no better than his first; Hafeez pulled him powerfully to the boundary to reach his fifty off 64 balls. Price tied up one end and the visitors capitalized from the other. Vitori retired with figures of eight overs for 55 runs. Even Price conceded two fours with short balls in the final over of the day, Hafeez taking his score to 79 out of 116 for one.