Half-centuries by Malcolm Waller and Sikandar Raza enabled Zimbabwe to take a first innings lead on the second day of the first Test against Pakistan at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday. Zimbabwe were 281-7 at the close, a lead of 32.
Waller changed the tempo of the match with an aggressive 70, while Pakistan-born Raza made 60 on his Test debut. The pair added 127 for the fourth wicket. They came together after Zimbabwe lost two wickets off successive deliveries.
With only one run added to the lunch score of 67-1, Vusi Sibanda was caught behind for 31 off the last ball of an over from Junaid Khan. Captain Hamilton Masakadza was deceived by a Saeed Ajmal doosra and bowled for 19 by the first ball of the next over.
Waller hit a boundary off the first ball he faced from Ajmal and continued to go for his shots as he reached his third Test half-century off 63 balls with 11 fours.
Raza, who was a late inclusion in the side when regular captain Brendan Taylor withdrew because of the birth of his first child, started his first Test innings cautiously and contributed only 11 of the first 50 runs of the partnership, although he picked up the pace either side of tea, reaching his fifty off 98 deliveries.
Ajmal, Pakistan’s most successful bowler (4-74), had Waller caught at slip after an innings which lasted 100 balls and included 14 boundaries. Raza, 27, whose family moved to Zimbabwe in 2002, also fell to the off-spinner, mistiming a lofted drive to be caught at midwicket. He batted for 118 balls and hit ten fours.
Elton Chigumbura (40 not out) and Prosper Utseya (16) took Zimbabwe into the lead with a seventh wicket partnership of 43 before the latter was bowled by Rahat Ali in the penultimate over of the day.
It took Zimbabwe just two balls to wrap up the Pakistan innings at the start of play, with the tourists losing their last wicket without adding a run to their overnight score of 249-9.
Ajmal was bowled by the first ball he faced from Tendai Chatara on his overnight score of 49, one short of his second Test half-century.
Tina Mawoyo and Sibanda put on 25 for Zimbabwe’s first wicket. After bowling four overs from over the wicket, the left-armed Junaid switched to around the wicket and the change of angle brought immediate success as Mawoyo nudged tentatively at the first delivery of the new over and was caught behind by Adnan Akmal for 13.
It was a disappointing day for Pakistan, with only Ajmal and Junaid posing a consistent threat to their underdog opponents, although Rahat bowled a hostile three-over spell with the second new ball.
At tea on the third day yesterday, Zimbabwe had taken a 78 run first innings lead, reaching 327 after Elton Chigumbura scored 69. Ajmal finished the innings with 7-95. Pakistan were in early trouble having lost three wickets for 87 runs, just nine runs ahead of Zimbabwe’s first innings total. Tinashe Panyangara had taken 2-12.
Additional reporting by staff writer