Zimbabwe v Pakistan, only Test, Bulawayo, 2nd day

Mawoyo and Hafeez provide a study in contrasts

Firdose Moonda in Bulawayo

September 2, 2011

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Tino Mawoyo evades a short ball, Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, only Test, Harare, 3rd day, August 6, 2011
Tino Mawoyo was happy to leave the ball alone during his innings © Associated Press
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In cricket, a combination of opposites is usually the most pleasing one. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel: the swinger and the bouncer; Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid: the aggressor and the grinder.

But these differences are often best expressed when they come up against each other. In Bulawayo, the contrast wasn't an obvious one but it was a fascinating one: the steadily dripping tap of Tino Mawoyo against Mohammad Hafeez's gushing river.

In the time it took Hafeez to reach his half-century, Mawoyo had only gathered nineteen runs. The number of boundaries Hafeez scored in his half-century - 10 - Mawoyo only managed when he had accumulated 80 runs. If Hafeez faces the 453 balls that Mawoyo did, he may well have a double century and more.

Mawoyo was content to play the waiting game and frustrate the opposition bowlers more than they could frustrate him while Hafeez took the fight straight to the Zimbabwe bowlers, offering them no respite during an attractive and engaging innings. Mawoyo's strength was in his supreme patience, Hafeez's his strokeplay.

Before the Test started, Mawoyo described himself as a person who enjoys watching the show, not being in it. After finishing day one on an undefeated and composed 82, he was in danger of becoming the star of the show, not just a supporting actor. This morning, when he scored the first runs with a classy cover drive, the credits of the movie started to roll, with Mawoyo's name dominating. And they rolled, and rolled, and rolled, and rolled, and rolled. More than five hours later, they were still rolling. Mawoyo took his time delivering his soliloquy.

For a 30-minute period early on, before he reached his hundred, he had scored just three runs. He spent the entire morning session negotiating Saeed Ajmal from the Matopos End. Even after facing him for more than a day, Mawoyo still could not pick the doosra. Ajmal continued to challenge him, almost dismissing him on 98, but Mawoyo continued to defy the offspinner. He faced 13 balls on 99 before bringing up his century in a typically understated fashion, with a run that might have been a leg-bye.

An intriguing race to see if Mawoyo's score could catch up to the number of overs ensued and it was only when he reached 121 in the 120th over that he could claim a small victory. With Pakistan realising they were faced with a wall, they decided to try and hammer it down and peppered Mawoyo with short balls. He only took the bait to pull when he was convinced that it would reach the boundary, blocking or ignoring those that he thought were going to trap him.

His refusal to succumb was a sign of a strong mind, one that would not be distracted irrespective of time spent at the crease, heat, fatigue or the constant chatter by Adnan Akmal with involved many utterances of the word "yourself." Mawoyo would not be disturbed, neither would be forced to change tack and he made that clear.

Even after Mawoyo had reached the 150 mark, he did not consider it time to become more expansive, and went on to face eight dot balls before taking his next run. His celebrations were modest, perhaps because he never felt as though he had won, especially against Ajmal's doosra. Mawoyo was beaten by it all way through, until the end of his innings, when he missed one in the 150th over of the day.

By contrast, the experienced Hafeez was beaten by very little. The youth of Brian Vitori, the pace of Kyle Jarvis, the steadiness of Chris Mpofu and even the late turn from Ray Price couldn't stop the Pakistan opener. His only wobble came in the third over. After he had played two sublime off drives off Vitori, he got an edge to a delivery that moved across him. Brendan Taylor, at second slip, put down the catch and that blunder only fuelled Hafeez's fire, instead of inhibiting him.

Vitori was taken aback by the early assault, the first he has had to deal with at international level and splayed "hit me" deliveries all over the place. Too straight, too short, too wide, too full but never too good. Although the attack Hafeez faced had more zip than the one Mawoyo had to contend with, they were also more wayward, bowling too short to Hafeez, allowing him to pull comfortably. Azhar Ali was playing a more Mawoyo-like innings on the other side, which gave Hafeez the freedom to put on a firework-like display of shots.

There were many times when Mawoyo had that same freedom, but he chose not use it. It was another of those wonderful contrasts in cricket - the room to accommodate those who express themselves with the bat, like Hafeez, and the same space for those who decide that their best form of articulation is by doing things softly and carefully, like Mawoyo.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2011, 6:56 GMT)

This is what T20 cricket has done to Test cricket, ICC should come up with a rule of thumb that allows for having separate players for each version. so that every players know what he is landing onto and has no excuse whatsover saying that the other format of the game affected performance. this is what most batsmen say and throwing away wicket with one rash shot.

Posted by deconstruct on (September 3, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

Afgunz: lets understand one thing - life is not about IF's and BUT's. If Bangladesh had a Bradman and Kenya had Sir Garry Sobers they would have been the top sides in the world today! So making a statement like "if they (Zimbabwe) can find a few match winning bowlers then I would rate them ahead of Pak as a test playing nation" is a pretty silly statement.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (September 3, 2011, 4:19 GMT)

Hafeez is a late bloomer. He started with a lot of promise but possibly selectorial whims kept him away from the maintream. He is a good enough and gutsy batsman and is a fair enough spin bowler. In fact I would back him for Captaincy given his calm temperament. He may not have the explosiveness of some of the over hyped Pakistanis but is more like Yusuf Youhana or Misbah ul Haq. I am not sure how well he gets on with the media but I think that is something he will improve upon as he goes on.The thing that the PCB selectors do not do well is identifying potential stars. I wish they would realise that they have a gem in their midst.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2011, 2:58 GMT)

I had to go back and look what the writer was talking about. The hafeez I thought I knew does not have an average more than 33 even first class games...I thought for a second Pakistani team found second haq...the last class batsmen from there silly

Posted by   on (September 3, 2011, 1:47 GMT)

Hafiz is showing a style and confidence. If he plays as many balls as Mawoyo has, who knows what would be his score. Good luck Hafiz

Posted by Afgunz4Lyfe on (September 3, 2011, 1:44 GMT)

hahahaha there isnt a single pakistani batsmen that can play that many balls in test match, there never was actually. Younis can on his good days besides him no one comes to mind....Zimbabwe have shown great Test match temperament; if they can find few match winning bowlers then I would rate them ahead of Pak as a test playing nation.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

Now this is the difference between our [Pakistani] batsmen and Zimbabwean batsmen !

Posted by KarachiKid on (September 2, 2011, 21:09 GMT)

Being a Pakistani, I would want Hafeez to be able to play as many deliveries as Mawoyo did. However, unfortunately, Hafeez has repeatedly shown in his career that he is not batsmen for long innings. He is type of batsmen who would play best and most attractive 20's or early 30's, be it ODI's, T-20s or Tests. If he can play half as many deliveries as Mawoyo, he will be on the road to stardom. I have my doubts though.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2011, 20:02 GMT)

hafeez's strike rate is 85 and if he plays 453 deliveries his score would be 385 not just a double hundred.

Posted by khurramsch on (September 2, 2011, 18:32 GMT)

yes nice article.both had some luck but both are brilient. Yes if hafz play 450bals he could make200+ but ths if is a big IF. Playng 450bals is not a smal thng.tim realy showd some skils. Ok pak atack wasnt good but facing 160bals of saed ajmal and not getng out is realy a big thng.only few may do that.

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