Recent Match Report - Pakistan vs Zimbabwe 2nd Test 2021

Recent Match Report – Pakistan vs Zimbabwe 2nd Test 2021


Pakistan eye second consecutive innings win, finishing the second session on day three still 280 ahead

Tea Zimbabwe 98 for 2 (Chakabva 43*, Taylor 24*, Shaheen 1-12) and 132 (Chakabva 33, Hasan Ali 5-27) trail Pakistan 510 for 8 dec (Abid Ali 215, Azhar Ali 126) by 280 runs

Zimbabwe showed more application in potentially their final innings of the series than any other, stalling Pakistan’s charge towards a 2-0 series victory with the top order putting up dogged resistance. Regis Chakabva, arguably the hosts’ most solid batsman across the two Tests, was the spearhead – first in defence and then in attack – as he successfully saw off the new ball before moving up a gear, taking on the Pakistan bowlers as he raced towards a brisk half-century.

But it wasn’t before Pakistan got rid of Tarisai Musakanda early and then Kevin Kasuza soon after. However, at 98 for 2, Zimbabwe will feel confident they can at least extend this game to the fourth day.

The contrast between the first hour and the second was stark, with Zimbabwe bogged down in sheer survival mode early on and any thoughts of run-scoring shelved. At one point, they managed just 15 runs in 13 overs as Kasuza hunkered down, playing a repeat of the first innings where he had managed just 4 from 43 deliveries. But once Chakabva decided to take on Sajid Khan in the 18th over, the shackles seemed to have suddenly come off.

Sajid was thumped for 17, and Kasuza joined the fun shortly after, s straight drive over Nauman Ali’s head for six arguably the shot of the Test. Nauman had an exquisite comeback, though, dragging his line back as Kasuza looked to go after in the same vein. He failed to get to the pitch, and the ball took out his middle stump to nip a budding second-wicket partnership for Brendan Taylor’s side.

Watching from the pavilion, the captain looked to have caught the bug too, taking the attack to the bowlers from the outset. His brief knock involved him hitting repeatedly through the air, often close to where fielders stood, relying on pinpoint precision to keep him safe. Nauman was lofted for a pair of neatly timed airborne drives, while a flick of the wrists off Tabish Khan brought him his first six. By the time tea arrived, there was a scent of swagger in Zimbabwe’s game, with Taylor having sped along to 24 off 15 deliveries, while Chakabva looked comfortable. Zimbabwe got 65 off the final ten overs before tea, and for the first time, seemed to be enjoying themselves.

But that wasn’t the case in the morning session, when Hasan Ali stormed through the middle and lower order to leave them teetering on the brink of a huge defeat. Yet another five-wicket haul – his fourth in his last five Test innings – helped skittle the home side out for 132, handing Pakistan a 378-run lead and forcing Zimbabwe to follow on.

If the hosts then came out looking to put up a belated fight, Hasan had other ideas. The fast bowler has already been in spectacular form since his return to Test cricket this year, with 19 Test wickets in his last four innings. He would make that 24 in five after a stirring performance in the morning, demonstrating complete command over line, length and swing as the Zimbabwe batters crumbled.

Tendai Chisoro was undone by one that moved away from the bat on a length, with Imran Butt taking a sharp low catch in the slips. The catching behind the wickets was another running theme, and it brought Hasan his next breakthrough. This time, it was a short delivery that grew big on Chakabva, requiring Abid Ali to leap at first slip. Luke Jongwe was then undone shortly after with a sublime inswinger that came back in to hit the off stump as the batter shouldered arms.

Roy Kaia, who had been dealt a painful blow on the knee that forced him off on the first day, came back on to bat with a noticeable limp, and while he accounted himself well, he even had the chance to extract a bit of revenge. He pinged a short delivery to Abid at short leg, with the ball smashing into his elbow. Abid was the man who had forced Kaia off in similar circumstances on the first day, and while he lumbered off clutching his funny bone, the Pakistani was unlikely to be seeing the lighter side.

Kaia and Donald Tiripano did frustrate Pakistan for about an hour, but Hasan returned to claim his fifth, thanks to a splendid reaction catch from Azhar Ali as the innings petered out.

But having established a respectable platform, the home side must ensure that doesn’t happen once more in the second innings.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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