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Pakistan cruise to safety vs. Zimbabwe – 1st Test

Zia Rana September 3, 2013

Pakistan 9-249 (Azhar Ali 78, Misbah-ul-Haq 53, Saeed Ajmal 49*, Tinashe Panyangara 3-71, Shingi Masakadza 2-40) vs. Zimbabwe

The match saving partnerships between Azhar Ali, Misbah-ul-Haq along with another one of Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan took Pakistan to prosperity vs. Zimbabwe.

The visitors scored 249 runs for the loss of 9 wickets after utilising 89.5 overs.

The first Test of the two match series commenced on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, at Harare Sports Club.

Earlier, Hamilton Masakadza won the toss for the hosts and offered the batting to the tourists. The decision paid off when Pakistan lost both openers at just 21 and the miseries were multiplied when their star middle order batsman, Younis Khan, departed for just three runs. The skipper of Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq joined together with Azhar Ali in the 15th over and they added four runs in the next five overs. The first hit three boundaries in the following overs and Azhar Ali got his first in the 25th one. The batsmen kept on creeping but the run rate was kept under check by the home bowlers who maintained their line and length.

Azhar Ali - Top scorer of the day with 78 runs

Azhar Ali – Top scorer of the day with 78 runs

The score went past the hundred runs mark in the 38th over with a four from the willow of Misbah-ul-Haq who reached his 19th Test fifty five overs later. The fourth wicket partnership contributed 93 valuable runs and was broken at 120 when Misbah-ul-Haq was caught by Vusi Sibanda at short midwicket off Prosper Utseya for 53 from 94 balls with 7 fours. Asad Shafiq appeared in the park next as Azhar Ali achieved his 15th test half century in the 50th over with a couple of fours.

Asad Shafiq became the second victim of Utseya after scoring four runs and was replaced by Adnan Akmal. The batsmen took the score to 157 when the latter was clean bowled by Tendai Chatara for 18 runs. The rival bowlers once again took their team in the game by grasping two quick wickets that included the one of Azhar Ali who was gone for 78 off 185 deliveries comprising 9 fours. The visitors were reeling at 8-182 in 71.3 overs when Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan got together in the middle and started fighting bravely. The first hit three boundaries in the coming overs and the second hundred of the innings appeared on the screen in the 79th one.

Junaid Khan tasted his first four in the 82nd over whereas Saeed Ajmal accumulated 10 runs in the next one with 1 six and 1 four. The fifty runs association was witnessed in the 86th over as the duo kept the score board moving regularly. The association was dislodged at 249 on the fifth ball of the 90th over when Junaid Khan was caught behind by Richmond Mutumbami off Tinashe Panyangara for 17 runs. Saeed Ajmal secured his end for 49 off 64 balls with 1 six and 6 fours as Pakistan managed 249 after 89.5 overs.

Tinashe Panyangara was the most successful bowler with three wickets whereas Tendai Chatara, Shingi Masakadza and Prosper Utseya shared two wickets each.

The 9th wicket partnership between Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan has stabilised the position for Pakistan and an addition of another 25-40 runs to the total will bring them to a fighting point against Zimbabwe.

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