ZIM vs PAK, 2nd Test, Day 1 Review: Blessing Muzarabani’s late dent help Zimbabwe recover after Azhar Ali, Abid Ali hit centuries
Muzarabani ensured to compensate the wicket-drought as he brought three in quick time towards the end of the day.
Updated - May 7, 2021 9:29 pm
A laborious day at the Harare Sports Club ended with a slight bit of respite for hosts Zimbabwe, who were tortured and grilled by a pair of Alis, Abid and Azhar, for the majority part of the day. However, a tight spell from Blessing Muzarabani coupled with ill-judged shots meant that Zimbabwe injected some serotonin in themselves after a forgettable day.
Walking in with an unassailable lead into the second Test, Pakistan elected to bat, handing a debut to the 36-year-old Tabish Khan, who became the third-oldest debutant for Pakistan. Zimbabwe, who handed the cap to Luke Jongwe, started decently against cautious openers of the opposition even as Donald Tiripano went haywire with the ball.
Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava bowled well in tandem, with the latter bouncing out Imran Butt in the first hour of the play to give early morning celebrations to his team. What followed, however, gave nothing even remotely similar to the hosts, with Abid and Azhar making merry in the face of a listless opposition attack.
The dominant Alis toil Zimbabwe
The two dug in their tents deep after getting their eyes in and looked in no mood to throw their wicket away. Skipper Brendan Taylor looked towards each bowler of his, including Muzarabani and Ngarava, but neither got success as they ensured to take Pakistan further unscathed into Lunch.
Having carried out the hard task of assessing and coming to terms with the pitch and conditions, both the batters laid the foundation of a giant first-innings lead, playing with freedom in a wicket-less second session. With not much help from the track, the harmless lengths from Zimbabwe only made the task easy for Pakistan as both the batsmen reached their centuries en route to a record 236-run partnership for the second wicket that consumed 450 balls.
Blessing’s triple strike brings back lost smiles
Having struck last time in the 7th over, Zimbabwe reminded themselves that claiming wickets is still a thing in cricket in the 83rd over when Muzarabani induced an edge from Azhar Ali’s bat to end his 240-ball stay, which included 17 fours and a six. As they say, one brings two, Muzarabani ensured to compensate the wicket-drought as he brought three in quick time including Azhar’s scalp.
He sent both Babar Azam and Fawad Alam, two main men of Pakistan’s tall batting order, for single-digit scores in a space of two overs of his spell with the new ball to reduce Pakistan to 264/4 from 248/1.
Zimbabwe would want to dent the opponents with similar force early morning tomorrow, especially given the new ball is merely 10 overs old and Pakistan have only Mohammad Rizwan as a potential batter left alongside Abid, who stood unbeaten at 118 at the end of the day, in the line-up.