Ajmal strikes for Pakistan as Zimbabwe consolidate

Published: Friday, September 2, 2011, 0:00 [IST]
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Ajmal strikes but Zim still going strong

Bulawayo, Sep 2: Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal picked up all three wickets as Zimbabwe reached 162 for three at tea on the opening day of the one-off Test at Queens Sports Club here on Sep 1.

After removing Vusi Sibanda for 45 during the morning session, Ajmal struck twice more in the afternoon to send back Hamilton Mazakadza for 11 and Brendan Taylor for 10 - the captain's fifth successive failure with the bat.

Tinotenda Mawoyo, however, stood firm to make an unbeaten 54 from 116 deliveries - maiden half century in Test cricket - and share a fourth wicket partnership of 51 with Tatendu Taibu who had made an adventurous 31, mixed with near runouts and outside edges off Ajmal's frequent doosras.

Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq chose to bowl first after winning the toss, seeing some green on the pitch and "not afraid to bat last." It also meant he pitched his very green attack in at the deep end.

With Zimbabwe making tentative steps back into Test cricket, Pakistan have also used the tour to blood some new players - including their two opening bowlers Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan, who are both making their Test debuts, and the third member of the pace attack Sohail Khan, who is playing just his second Test.

The three quick bowlers could make no impression on Mawoyo and Sibanda who put on 71 for the first wicket and it was left to the more experienced spin of Ajmal to put the batsmen under any great pressure.

After Sibanda went to a smart stumping by Adnan Akmal after being outwitted by the off-spinner's doosra, Ajmal returned after the break to bowl Mazakadza and trap Taylor leg before. At tea he had taken three for 49 from 19 overs.

Zimbabwe made one change to the side that beat Bangladesh so convincingly in Harare with off-spinner Greg Lamb came in for the injured Elton Chigumbura.


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