Ton-up Williams, Tiripano frustrate Afghanistan victory bid

Abu Dhabi (Agencies): Skipper Sean Williams scored a pugnacious hundred and allrounder Donald Tiripano hit a maiden half century to delay Afghanistan’s victory on the fourth day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Williams was 106 not out for his fourth Test hundred — third as captain and third in successive Tests — and Tiripano was on an unbeaten 63 as Zimbabwe closed the day on 266-7 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

This puts Zimbabwe just eight runs ahead with three wickets including the fighting duo of Williams and Tiripano to save their 1-0 lead in the two-match series. Zimbabwe won the first Test by ten wickets, also in Abu Dhabi.

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan had put Afghanistan in sight of a series-levelling win with 5-105 — his fourth five wicket haul in five Tests — but Williams and Tiripano stood firm. The duo nullified Rashid and other bowlers after Zimbabwe were staring at defeat on 170-7 at tea, needing 118 to avoid an innings defeat.

But Williams and Tiripano ensured Zimbabwe did not lose a wicket in the final session as they added 124 runs for the unbroken eighth wicket stand. Williams cut Rashid for his ninth boundary to reach his century and also helped overcome the innings defeat. He has so far batted for 190 balls and hit nine boundaries and a six.

Tiripano, who survived some anxious moments against Rashid, improved on his previous best of 49 not out against New Zealand at Harare in 2016. He has so far hit 11 boundaries off 164 balls.

Resuming on 24 without loss Zimbabwe lost both openers Prince Masvaure (15) and Kevin Kasuza (30) before lunch and five more wickets in the second session. After paceman Sayed Shirzad removed talented batsman Wesley Madhevere for his third duck in two Tests — a pair in this Test — Rashid came into his own.

Rashid removed Sikandar Raza (22), Ryan Burl (nought) and Regis Chakabva (nought) in the space of just two runs and off his eight balls to leave Zimbabwe tottering at 142-7.

But Williams, who also hit a hundred against Sri Lanka at Harare in January last year and in the first Test against Afghanistan here, took the game to last day.