Home cricket Recent Match Report – Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 1st Test 2021

Recent Match Report – Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 1st Test 2021

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Pakistan 426 (Fawad 140, Butt 91, Abid 60, Muzarabani 4-73) beat Zimbabwe 176 (Kaia 48, Afridi 4-43, Hasan 4-53) and 134 (Musakanda 43, Hasan 5-36) by an innings and 116 runs

Hasan Ali joined Shaheen Afridi in the 50 Test-wicket club as he wrapped up Zimbabwe’s lower order inside half an hour after tea on the third day for a dominant innings win for Pakistan. The last four wickets fell for just 10 runs, with Hasan taking all of them to complete a five-wicket haul and take his match tally to nine and earning Player-of-the-Match honours in the process. It’s the first time in nearly three years Pakistan won an away Test, with Babar Azam continuing his 100% win record as Test captain.

Once a bit of resistance from the opening Zimbabwean pair was seen off, it was a familiar tale again. Pakistan tore through the top and middle order, removing half the side with the hosts still 132 runs away from erasing the first innings deficit at tea.

Kevin Kasuza and Tarisai Musakanda’s resilience at the top suggested lessons might be learned from the failures of the first innings, but when Hasan nipped one back into Kasuza to strike the back pad, those impressions were soon dispelled. Milton Shumba was promoted ahead of Brendan Taylor, though his discomfort at batting up high appeared evident, and it was little surprise to see him nick off to left-arm bowler Nauman Ali.

However, the real suggestion this was more a tribute act to the first innings than an actual second go came with the third dismissal. Musakanda had looked as assured as any of his compatriots all game, getting onto the front foot early against pace, and moving out of the way of the short ball with relative comfort. Alongside Taylor, who had come out looking proactive, even whacking the spinner for six off just his second delivery, Musakanda was forming a third-wicket partnership that represented Zimbabwe’s best hopes of making the visitors bat again.

But when Taylor reverse swept Nauman to short third man, Musakanda pushed for a non-existent third, and ended up a couple of metres short when Mohammad Rizwan whipped off the bails. Musakanda had gone for a pretty 43 when Zimbabwe needed closer to a gritty three-figure contribution.

Roy Kaia fell soon after, and while Taylor continued along in his adventurous ways, it was laden with risk. On the stroke of tea, he went after one ball too many, trying to hit Nauman through the line. It was mistimed, allowing Hasan to scamper back and take an excellent diving catch. With Prince Masvaure ruled out of the game due to a left hand injury sustained in the field, it brought Pakistan deep into Zimbabwe’s lower order.

Unlike the first innings, though, there was little resistance from those at the bottom. Hasan sent Donald Tiripano’s stumps cartwheeling in his second over after tea, before removing Tendai Chisoro in the same over thanks to a superb diving catch from Imran Butt at second slip. Blessing Muzarabani‘s stumps, too, went for a cartwheel at Hasan’s hands, and when he knocked back Richard Ngarava’s stumps with a yorker, the formalities were complete.

Four wickets for Muzarabani helped wrap up the Pakistan innings in the first session, but not before 140 from Fawad Alam took the Pakistan lead to exactly 250. A cameo from Hasan to begin the day vanquished Zimbabwean hopes of wrapping up the innings without much further damage, and once he fell, Alam farmed the strike effectively to continue to take the game out of Zimbabwe’s reach.

Zimbabwe looked purposeful to begin the third day, perhaps because they could see the light at the end of the tunnel, with Pakistan’s lower order in their sights. But with Alam’s obstinate resistance combined with Hasan’s penchant for quick scoring, every boundary – and there were a few – frustrated, as the spectre of an innings defeat moved ever closer. So when Muzarabani went wide of the crease to target the off-stump line and coaxed an edge from Hasan, there were boisterous celebrations.

Muzarabani was on fire all morning; it was notable even as Alam tried to up the ante. The 24-year old gave him nothing to hit. He followed up the Hasan dismissal with a first-ball removal of Nauman, though he did have a splendid second slip catch from Musakanda to thank for that. The hat-trick wasn’t to be, but he did ensure Alam wouldn’t go unbeaten, taking his inside edge as he tried to heave one away to midwicket.

Zimbabwe might have felt they had done respectably well to keep the lead from ballooning ever further, but with little resistance from the batters, that effectively ensured a tame defeat would come inside three days.

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

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