HARARE – Brian Vitori grabbed five wickets and opener Tino Mawoyo scored a half-century as Zimbabwe took control of the second test against Pakistan with a 185-run lead today.
Zimbabwe’s batsmen, however, will be ruing some rash shots towards the end of the third day as they would have been in an even stronger position had they not lost three wickets in the final three overs.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan fell prey to a similar rash of bad strokes. They had gone into lunch at a rather comfortable 211/5. The run-rate in the first session was reduced to a crawl despite Younis Khan batting on fifty plus. Misbah ul Haq, who was batting solidly, fell to the second new ball and Asad Shafiq followed soon after. The collapse after lunch was quite dramatic. Tinashe Panyanagara got rid off Younis Khan (77) and Abdur Rehman off successive deliveries to trigger an unlikely collapse. Pakistan, who were looking at building a sizeable lead suddenly stumbled and ended up conceding a 64-run lead instead.
Brian Vitori had his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests as well giving his side a tremendous boost. Pakistan’s last six wickets tumbled for only 19 runs as Vitori returned figures of five for 61. Vitori is only the second Zimbabwean bowler to take five wickets in a test innings since 2005.
The home side, seeking to level the two-match series, were 121 for four in their second innings after earlier dismissing Pakistan for 230 at the Harare Sports Club.
Mawoyo (58) and Hamilton Masakadza (44) were aggressive in forging a strong 104-run second wicket partnership for Zimbabwe to give them a real chance of setting Pakistan a tough target to chase for victory on a wicket expected to deteriorate. Pakistan were made to struggle for the better part of the day. The only wicket was that of make-shift opener, Prosper Utseya who had come in place of Vusi Sibanda. The duo had done all the hard work but it was all undone late in the day.
But they both lost their wickets just when they looked set to return to the crease on Friday.
Mawoyo, who has struggled in the series since returning from injury, survived several close calls, including being dropped by wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal off the bowling of Saeed Ajmal, as he showed a return to form.
But he fell to a ball from Abdur Rehman that skidded on and trapped him leg before two overs from the close. Masakadza was similarly caught on the front foot four balls later and then night watchman Tinashe Panyangara was dismissed without scoring, bringing the third day to a close.
Pakistan’s bowlers have managed to keep them in the game. They will be looking to carry on with the upward swing tomorrow as well and hope to leave their batsmen with a gettable target.