Pakistan on brink of test series whitewash after bowling hosts Zimbabwe were out for 132 and forced to follow-on on the third day of the second and final Test at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Zimbabwe held on to extend play to the fourth day and ended the day at 220/9, trailing by 158 runs at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Pakistan pacers Nauman Ali and Shaheen Afridi shared nine wickets between them and overall Zimbabwe lost a total of 15 wickets on the day.
Regis Chakabva led an improved Zimbabwe batting performance as the host nation battled to avoid an innings defeat on the third day of the second and final Test against Pakistan on Sunday.
Zimbabwe were 98 for two at tea in their second innings after being forced to follow on 378 runs behind.
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On the first day of the second Test in Harare, Abid Ali and Azhar Ali both hit centuries to put Pakistan in command, before Blessing Muzarabani took three late wickets to bring Zimbabwe back into the game.
Abid batted steadily throughout the day to reach stumps on 118 not out, while Azhar hit 126 in a massive second-wicket stand of 236.
However, after toiling on a sluggish surface for the majority of the day, Zimbabwe and Muzarabani (3-41) made the second new ball pay, as Babar Azam and Fawad Alam quickly followed Azhar back to the pavilion, and Pakistan finished on 268-4.
After Babar won the toss, Pakistan batted, with veteran seamer Tabish Khan making his debut. Imran Butt batted around for two runs off 20 deliveries before giving away his wicket.
Given how impressive Ngarava and Muzarabani were in their initial stage and subsequent performances, it appears that how each team uses the new ball will be crucial on a favorable Harare pitch.
The two centurions picked up the pace after lunch as Zimbabwe’s discipline started to dwindle – Azhar enjoying himself backwards of square and through midwicket, while Abid showed lovely timing through the covers.
Tendai Chisoro (0-80) fell short after Zimbabwe convinced the umpires to change the ball in the 53rd over, and Abid smashed the ball into Roy Kaia’s shin, sending the short leg off the field after lengthy treatment.
Azhar reached three figures after 198 deliveries, while Abid did so after his 224th delivery before collapsing from 248-1.
Muzarabani drew Azhar into an up-and-down drive, which Milton Shumba pouched at gully, before Babar edged to Kevin Kasuza in the cordon and Alam dragged on after a series of short deliveries.
Babar fed up of counting his Blessings
Babar, Azhar’s successor, has established himself as Pakistan’s backbone in all formats, and he was in fine form during the recent white-ball tour of South Africa. But not here, where he followed up a first-ball duck in his team’s innings victory last time out with another single-figure score.
Muzarabani appears to be a significant contributor to the problem. The seamer has taken out Babar on six occasions since his return to international cricket last year.