Tintotenda Mawoyo became the third Zimbabwean player to carry his bat as the opener made 163 not out in his side’s first-innings total of 412 on the second day of their Test against Pakistan at Queens Sports Club on Friday.
After the early loss of Taufeeq Umar, the Pakistan batsmen settled well on an easy pitch and by the close had reached 116 for one with Mohammad Hafeez on 79 and Azhar Ali on 27. They trail by 296 runs with nine wickets in hand.
However, the day belonged to the 25-year-old Mawoyo, who picked up where he left off on Thursday as he stone-walled the Pakistan attack.
Resuming on 82 he went on to reach his maiden Test century and then, as wickets fell around him, pushed on past the 150-mark.
When last man Chris Mpofu was bowled by Aizeez Cheema to signal the delayed tea interval, Mawoyo had become the 47th batsman in the history of Test cricket — this is the 2,006th Test match — to carry his bat.
The only two Zimbabweans to do it before him also achieved the feat against Pakistan. Mark Dekker made 68 not out in Rawalpini in 1993, while Grant Flower hit 156 not out on this ground in 1998.
Starting the day on 245 for four, Zimbabwe lost Craig Ervine early when he gave Juanid Jhan his first Test wicket, caught and bowled for 49, ending a fifth wicket partnership of 94 with Mawoyo.
However, debutant Greg Lamb dug in to add another 95 with the opener for the sixth wicket.
Mawoyo had a major stroke of luck when he was on 98 as Adnan Akmal missed a straightforward stumping off Saeed Ajmal. It was his second chance as Sohail Khan dropped him on the boundary when he had made 25.
There was a little bit of uncertainty as he reached his century. Mawoyo thought he was running a leg-bye only to realize it was his all-important 100th run when the umpire failed to signal the extra.
Mawoyo faced 453 balls and spent a total of 645 minutes at the crease, hitting 20 boundaries during the course of his innings. Only David Houghton, who made 266 in 675 minutes against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo in 1994 and Flower, whose 201 not out against Pakistan in Harare in 1995 spanned 654 minutes, have produced longer innings for Zimbabwe.
When Lamb fell for 38, the Zimbabwe tail fell apart, but they still got the side across the psychological 400-odd mark.
Saeed Ajmal bowled with guile and variation, his doosras a constant torment to the Zimbabwe batsmen, but he was out of luck, finishing with four for 143. It fell to Aizaz Cheema to clean up with tail and he helped himself to four for 79.
When Pakistan came out after tea, they were quickly in trouble as Taufeeq Umar was given out LBW to Kyle Jarvis even though the ball pitched outside leg stump.
However, Hafeez made light of the setback, hammering one six off Lamb and 15 fours — three of them off successive deliveries from Brian Vitori — as he raced to 79 from just 93 deliveries.
His partner Azkar Ali was more circumspect, nudging his way to 27 from 72 deliveries, but by the close the stand was worth 108 and both batsmen were looking forward to another dig on the batting-friendly pitch.