Second Test Match

Zimbabwe v Pakistan

At Harare Sports Club, Harare, March 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. Pakistan won by three wickets. Toss: Zimbabwe.

But for some crucial missed chances, Zimbabwe might well have won an enthralling match. Shortly before the end of the second day, Mohammad Wasim was dropped, on 81, by Mbangwa; next morning, he was put down again, in the slips off Bryan Strang, when he was 125 and Pakistan were 236 for eight, still 41 behind. Neither chance was difficult. He went on to reach 192, batting 560 minutes and masterminding a critical ninth-wicket stand of 147 with Mushtaq Ahmed. Instead of surrendering a first-innings deficit, Pakistan gained an unlikely lead of 77. Once Zimbabwe lost three second-innings wickets for 38, Pakistan's victory was virtually inevitable. It was much more comfortable than a three-wicket margin would suggest, for they gave wickets away whenever the game looked won.

The seeds of Pakistan's success could be traced to a remarkable last half-hour before tea on the first day, when Zimbabwe lost five wickets in as many overs to slip from 141 for two to 153 for seven. The Pakistani bowlers deserve credit for inducing the collapse, although they were helped by a poor shot ( Goodwin, caught at deep square leg), a bad umpiring decision ( Andy Flower) and a needless run-out. The fact that Strang, previously without a Test fifty, was able to make one from just 78 balls, and shared an eighth- wicket stand of 110 with Guy Whittall, showed what was possible on a pitch that played well throughout. Strang, only picked because his brother Paul was injured, counter-attacked gamely, hitting Mushtaq for two straight fours and a six. Whittall pulled anything remotely short and hit 13 fours, three off successive balls from Wasim Akram.

Pakistan's batsmen, most of them out of form, lacked the patience to graft on a pitch discouraging strokeplay. The Zimbabwean seamers embraced the ploy of bowling on a length, wide of off stump, trying to frustrate them into giving wickets away. Several did, but Mohammad Wasim's watchfulness, combined with his ability to put the bad ball away, proved all-important. Mushtaq, who also capitalised on some indifferent bowling to score a sensible fifty, was the perfect foil for 49 overs. Mohammad was last out for a career-best 192, having hit 23 fours in 407 balls.

Needing a good start to their second innings, Zimbabwe ran into early problems as the new ball swung. Conditions eased after that and Goodwin and Andy Flower slowly added 95 for the fourth wicket. Goodwin showed excellent temperament and technique by batting for nearly six hours until Waqar took the new ball and immediately dismissed him for 81. Some lusty blows from Streak at least gave Zimbabwe something to bowl at, but it was not enough. They made Pakistan's task all the easier on the final day with some ill-directed bowling. Saeed Anwar scored 65 in 89 balls, and Pakistan needed only 54 overs to make 192. Youhana fell for 52 with victory in sight.

Man of the Match: Mohammad Wasim. Man of the Series: Waqar Younis.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 18-0 ( Saeed Anwar 9*, Ali Naqvi 6*); Second day, Pakistan 190-8 ( Mohammad Wasim 96*, Mushtaq Ahmed 0*); Third day, Zimbabwe 82-3 ( M. W. Goodwin 25*, A. Flower 25*); Fourth day, Pakistan 58-1 ( Saeed Anwar 7*, Mohammad Wasim 8*).

© John Wisden & Co