Pakistan rout sorry Zim

HARARE – Zimbabwe cricket team lost the first Test to Pakistan by a crushing 221runs after a disappointing morning session on the fifth and final day at Harare Sports Club on Saturday morning.

The beauty and ugly nature of Test cricket is the ability to strike when it matters most and the inability to hang on when in position of command.

For three and half days, Zimbabwe had dominated this Test match and had given themselves hope of snatching a win but Pakistan bowlers Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan and Abdur Rehman had other ideas.

Zimbabwe started the fifth day on 13-1 needing 329 to win but the home side batting line-up collapsed like a proverbial deck of cards inside 40 overs.

The hosts were all out for 120 as the Pakistan bowlers obliterated the Zimbabwe batsmen on their second innings.

Seamer Khan opened the floodgates for the tourists with a double strike taking a wicket in each of his first two overs of the day.

First it was stand-in-captain Hamilton Masakadza, who departed for one run in the ninth over after being caught by Azhar Ali.

Vusi Sibanda followed in Khan’s next over after being trapped plum for six runs after 10.2 overs to leave Zimbabwe reeling on 19-3.

A brief resistance from Malcolm Waller and Sikandar Raza Butt lasted for 31 balls. Waller departed for 17 after he fell to spinner Rehman.

The left-arm spinner struck again when he removed the Pakistan-born Raza for 24 runs in the 28th over.

All-rounder Elton Chigumbura hit five boundaries for his 28 runs raising prospects of a post-lunch continuation but it never arrived.

Chigumbura’s stay was short lived after he played early a Rehman delivery to be caught at slip by Mohammed Hafeez.

At that point Zimbabwe lay helplessly on 89-6 and the writing was on the wall for the hosts.

Khan and Rehman finished with four wickets apiece while Ajmal claimed the man-of-the-match after he finished with figures of 11 for 118 runs from 49.1 overs.

The match started on Tuesday with Zimbabwe winning the toss and electing to field.

A hard fought day’s work saw the locals grabbing nine wickets as Pakistan were on 249-9 at stumps after day one.

On the second day Pakistan were all out without adding a single run to their overnight score to end the first innings on 249 runs inspired by two half centuries from Azhar Ali (78) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq with 53.

Zimbabwe seamers’ Tinashe Panyangara and Chatara picked three wickets apiece while Chigumbura and off spinner Prosper Utseya got two wickets each.

At stumps of day two Zimbabwe were leading by 32 runs with three wickets in hand on 281-7 before they finally succumbed for 327 to lead by 78 runs.

Pakistan’s second innings got off to a terrible start losing three wickets early on and by close of play on day they were hanging precariously on 168-4 with a lead of 90 runs.

The match’s turning point was a 118-run sixth wicket partnership between Younis Khan and Adnan Akmal.

The partnership took the Asians to 287-6 and a lead of 209 with four wickets remaining.

This saw Younis Khan accelerating his batting pace to reach 200, his first Test double century against Zimbabw,e prompting his captain to declare on 419-9 with a healthy lead of 341.

Masakadza the care taker skipper said the team showed a lot of competition before one session changed everything.

"The boys fought hard for three and a half days. It was only towards the end of the fourth day that things started to go away from us,” said Masakadza.

“We did compete and we were ahead at one stage, bowling them out for 250. It could have been a bigger lead for us but their last wicket had a partnership.”

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