Pakistan ease to Test win over Zimbabwe

Despite returning to cricket with a win over Bangladesh, Zimbabwe are unable to get better of Pakistan in one-off Test.

     Captain Misbah-ul-Haq (L) and senior player Younus Khan celebrate Pakistan's victory with the Coca-cola trophy [AFP] 

    Pakistan completed a seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe just before lunch on Monday on the final day of their one-off Test.

    After Pakistan totaled 466 runs in their first innings in reply to the host's 412, Zimbabwe delayed defeat after Tatenda Taibu hit an undefeated 58 on the fourth day and shared an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 66 with Kyle Jarvis to finish on 135-8 at stumps in the second innings, a lead of 81 runs.

    Taibu did not add a single run on the final day, nicking a wide Aizaz Cheema delivery to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal on the last ball of the day's first over.

    Last man Chris Mpofu also succumbed to the Akmal-Cheema combination to leave Jarvis stranded on 25 as Zimbabwe were bundled out for 141.

    "I'm really pleased with the way the guys played," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.

    "We were under pressure after they scored 412 but the way my guys batted showed great responsibility. The bowlers also did a tremendous job for us... I'm really proud of my team. They fought well, batted well and bowled well. They did a good job for me."

    Chasing a modest total of 88 runs for victory, Pakistan were led by man-of-the-match Mohammad Hafeez, who scored 38 runs before he was clean-bowled by spinner Ray Price around his legs.

    Hafeez scored 119 runs in the first innings, his third Test century, and took 4-31 with his accurate off-spin in Zimbabwe's second innings.

    Bouncing to victory

    Pakistan also lost Taufeeq Umar on 8 and Azhar Ali (22) but Younis Khan (14 not out) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (6 not out) comfortably took the Asian side home by seven wickets.

    "With the way the ball started behaving, turning and bouncing, I knew it would work in our favour,'' ul-Haq said.

    "We knew if we bowled in the right channels, stump-to-stump, we would out Zimbabwe under pressure."

    Having batted commendably the first innings, with opener Tino Mawoyo scoring an undefeated 163 to become the third Zimbabwean in history to carry his bat through a Test innings, a lackluster fielding performance by the host helped Pakistan to 466 in their first innings.

    "It was a combination of nerves, weary pitch, quality bowling and poor batting"

    Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor

    With the Queens Sports Club offering considerable turn and bounce for the spinners as well as assisting the seamers with movement, Zimbabwe's batsmen failed to get to grips with the conditions, collapsing for a measly 55-5 in the second innings at the tea break of the fourth day.

    "It was a combination of nerves, weary pitch, quality bowling and poor batting," Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor said.

    "Our technique let us down. But there was positive approach in the way Taibu and Jarvis batted. They showed a lot of character."

    Taylor said the conditions in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, as opposed to Harare, played in Pakistan's favour as the Test progressed.

    "It's two different wickets," Taylor said.

    "The one in Harare is faster. This was one was more suited to them."

    The match was Zimbabwe's second Test after returning to the format following an absence of six years, having beaten Bangladesh by 130 runs in the comeback Test in Harare in August.



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