Zimbabwe's fight pleases Taylor
Whatever the result of the one-off Test in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor feels his men have achieved something significant.
"A lot of people probably would have written us off in three days against Pakistan, so to get deep into the fourth day and now to be going into a fifth day is a positive," Taylor said. "Especially in these conditions which probably suit them more and are a little more sub-continental. So, we'll be pretty satisfied whatever happens."
On a pitch that has provided assistance to the spinners, Zimbabwe batted well in the first innings, but poorly in the second, to leave them on the backfoot as the match enters its final day. Despite their setback Taylor was mostly pleased that the team stuck to their strategies, particularly early on the fourth day when they took the last five Pakistan wickets for 51 runs. "Everything went pretty much to plan, the bowlers stuck it out and eventually found some reward," he said, "The seamers went for under three an over and Ray Price bowled really well in his 50 overs, it was very good."
Taylor, in turn, set attacking fields throughout the innings, rarely venturing onto the same defensive path his opposite number Misbah-ul-Haq is renowned for. "I'm a positive captain," Taylor said. "On a wearing wicket with Ray Price and Greg Lamb bowling into the rough, I had to back your bowlers and set good fields. That was always my thinking."
Taylor's main frustration came from the dropped catches - six of them in total - which went against the grain for a side that are usually exceptional in the field. "It was probably a concentration thing," he said. "It's really disappointing because fielding is one part of the game that we work very hard on. If we held onto some of them they could have been 300 all out and that could have been the difference."
Instead, Zimbabwe allowed Pakistan to overtake their first innings score and then "all the hard work done by the bowlers was undone by the batsmen." Still, Taylor feels that with a sizeable enough lead, they are in with a chance if they can score quickly on the final morning. "We'll always believe; we know Pakistan could capitulate," he said. "We are still a long way off, we probably still need to bat another two hours, at least, and give our bowlers a good total to bowl at."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent