Hafeez leads fightback after Mawoyo's marathon
Pakistan 116 for 1 (Hafeez 79*) trail Zimbabwe 412 (Mawoyo 163*, Cheema 4-79, Ajmal 4-143) by 296 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Tino Mawoyo became the third Zimbabwe batsman to carry his bat, leading Zimbabwe to an impressive 412 before Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan assert themselves in the final session. The Queens Sports Club pitch remained benign for the second day running, and Mawoyo cashed in after overcoming a bout of nerves in the 90s to build on the platform the home side set on the first day.
Pakistan looked deflated in the morning but an energetic burst from the debutant Aizaz Cheema in the lead-up to tea helped helped them recover some lost ground. They then surged past 100 in the final session as the action shifted up a gear, after having meandered under Mawoyo's watch.
Hafeez was entertaining and elegant, but also enjoyed a slice of luck against the new-ball pair of Brian Vitori and Kyle Jarvis, who repeatedly attacked the stumps. Jarvis struck early, trapping Taufeeq Umar with a fullish ball that straightened towards middle and leg to leave Pakistan 8 for 1.
That should have become 16 for 2 in the next over when Vitori squared Hafeez up with a delivery that left him, but Brendan Taylor spilt the edge at second slip. It was a smart set-up from Vitori, after Hafeez had punched the two previous balls, both inswingers, down the ground.
The reprieve did not affect Hafeez's mindset and he continued to seek boundaries every time the bowlers missed their lengths. Despite his intent, Zimbabwe retained three slips and bowled full. He responded with a series of pleasing drives through the off side, and pulled well when the odd ball was dropped short. Azhar Ali was mostly a spectator as the 50-run stand came up in the 11th over. Ray Price's introduction slowed down the pace, as he offered generous flight in search of the edge, but Hafeez latched onto Vitori's short balls to motor past his half-century. Late in the day, he whacked Greg Lamb for six over midwicket, before taking Price for two boundaries in the last over to cap Pakistan's strong comeback.
That Pakistan managed their resurgence was down to Cheema's intent in the lead-up to tea. He concentrated on bowling a a full length to skittle out the tail, but not before Mawoyo had accumulated relentlessly, interspersing phases of stonewalling with sparks of fluency.
Mawoyo began the day with two early boundaries off Sohail Khan to enter the 90s, but he slowed down thereafter as his tormentor-in-chief, Saeed Ajmal, came into the attack. Mawoyo faced 166 balls in all from Ajmal, without once looking like he could spot the doosra. Ajmal's offbreaks did not turn too sharply, but mixed up with the odd indecipherable doosra, the stock delivery too became a threat.
On 98, Mawoyo wandered out of the crease in an attempt to reach the flight, but the doosra turned past the outside edge into Adnan Akmal's gloves. Akmal closed the gloves a touch late and inexplicably, failed to break the stumps with the ball lodged between his wrists.
That wasn't Mawoyo's only moment of indecision in the 90s. He was also troubled by Junaid Khan outside off stump repeatedly. Junaid's persistence accounted for Craig Ervine, who fended a short ball back to Junaid for his first Test wicket. Mawoyo hung on, and after 13 agonising balls on 99, inside-edged towards midwicket to reach his 100. With the milestone out of the way, he showed more freedom, driving and pulling Ajmal for fours before lacing Cheema down the ground.
Azhar's part-time legbreaks did not bother Mawoyo after lunch, and he picked up easy boundaries off him to kick off the most fluent session of his innings. Lamb too was at ease, thumping an Azhar half-tracker through point as Zimbabwe passed 350. Ajmal kept searching, but his doosras did everything except go to hand after taking the edge. Lamb misread his first ball after drinks, nicking one past slip for four, but Ajmal trapped him two balls later with the offbreak. Lamb had made 39, one of four top-order batsmen to fall within sight of a half-century.
Cheema's perseverance with the inswinger finally bore fruit when Price inside-edged to short leg, giving the bowler his first Test victim four days short of his 32nd birthday. Mawoyo remained immovable at his end, his footwork and defence increasing in decisiveness through the day. He brought up his 150 by nudging his 422nd ball to square leg. Ajmal should have had Vitori next ball, but Junaid put in a lame effort and failed to reach the top-edge as it swirled towards him at deep square leg.
Armed with a roughed-up ball against the tail-enders, Cheema resorted to a full length for the first time in the innings. He eventually got Vitori edging low to slip, before bowling Jarvis and Chris Mpofu. But that was not before Mpofu had mowed Ajmal over midwicket to take Zimbabwe past 400, a creditable effort considering that barring Tatenda Taibu, none of their batsmen could read the offspinner.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo