Harare: Pakistan were in firm grip of the second and final Test against Zimbabwe after Abid Ali registered an unbeaten double-century before the touring bowlers accounted for four host batsmen in the evening session of day two on Saturday.
Zimbabwe were 52 for four and found themselves in a precarious position as they needed another 259 to avoid the follow-on and trailed Pakistan’s 510 for eight (declared) by a whopping 458 runs.
Abid stroked a wonderful 215 not out after resuming the day on 118 to record the best score by a Pakistan batsman at Harare Sports Club, beating Younis Khan’s 200 not out. This was the first instance of Abid breaching the 200-run mark in Tests.
The right-handed opener crunched 29 fours from the 407 balls he faced.
Pakistan lost nightwatchman Sajid Khan (20 off 54) earlier in the day and Mohammad Rizwan followed him back to pavilion after scoring 21. Hasan Ali was the next batsman to fall as Pakistan were 341 for seven.
Nauman Ali smashed an electrifying 97. He posted his maiden half-century in 86 balls and then spanked Zimbabwe bowlers for boundaries to score his next 45 runs from 18 balls. Overall, he struck nine fours and five sixes and conjured up a remarkable 169-run stand with Abid.
Nauman was stumped after tea, which prompted Pakistan captain Babar Azam to declare the innings with a handsome score on the board. Blessing Muzarabani’s three wickets, which he had snared in the evening session on day one, made him standout on the bowling scoresheet, while Tendai Chisoro took two wickets.
Zimbabwe’s woes amplified on the last ball of the second over as debutant Tabish Khan trapped Tarisai Musakanda in front of stumps. Kevin Kasuza fell to Hasan Ali once again as he edged a length delivery onto his leg-stump.
Zimbabwe captain Brendon Taylor was next to walk back, thanks to Shaheen Shah Afridi. Milton Shumba, sent in as a nightwatchman, was adjudged LBW as he padded off-spinner Sajid Khan, who picked up his first Test wicket. Wicketkeeper-batsman Regis Chakabva was unbeaten on 28 from 71 balls and he was joined by Tendai Chisoro when stumps were drawn.
Zimbabwe, after having suffered a heavy loss by an innings and 116 runs in the first Test, will be eager to avoid another defeat by an innings margin when they resume their batting on Sunday.
Scores in brief: Pakistan 510-8 (dec), 147.1 overs (Abid Ali 215 not out, Azhar Ali 126, Nauman Ali 97, Mohammad Rizwan 21, Sajid Khan 20; Blessing Muzarabani 3-82, Tendai Chisoro 2-131)
Zimbabwe 52-4, 30 overs (Regis Chakabva 28 not out).