Pakistan ease to seven-wicket win
Pakistan 466 (Hafeez 119, Lamb 3-120) and 88 for 3 (Hafeez 38) beat Zimbabwe 412 (Mawoyo 163, Cheema 4-79, Ajmal 4-143) and 141 (Taibu 58, Cheema 4-24, Hafeez 4-31) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pakistan surged to a seven-wicket victory in Bulawayo as Zimbabwe paid the price for throwing away ten sessions of hard work in one poor session on the fourth day. Tatenda Taibu and Kyle Jarvis had kept Pakistan waiting with a 66-run stand for the eighth wicket yesterday, but Taibu's exit without any addition to the score signalled the end of Zimbabwe's resistance. Pakistan lost their top three batsmen in the chase, but the paltry target of 88 was insufficient to trouble them.
Though the opposition wasn't the toughest, it was a significant result for Pakistan since it gave them consecutive Test wins for the first time since 2005, following their series-levelling triumph against West Indies in Basseterre.
After skittling out the top eight Zimbabwean wickets in 27.3 overs, Pakistan were made to wait for exactly another 27.3 overs for their next wicket, and the last one followed without much fuss. The speed of Zimbabwe's capitulation came as a surprise, given how resilient Taibu and Jarvis had been in the lead-up to stumps yesterday.
With an in-and-out field aimed at keeping Taibu off strike, Aizaz Cheema, celebrating his 32nd birthday, delivered the last ball of his opening over well wide of off stump. Anxious to get the single, Taibu looked to steer away from his body and guided the ball into the wicketkeeper's gloves. In his next over, Cheema removed Chris Mpofu with a fuller length, making him edge to Adnan Akmal again. The double-strike gave Cheema an eight-wicket match haul - the second best by a Pakistan debutant.
One man's gain was another's loss, though, as Mohammad Hafeez was left stranded on four wickets - one more would have made him the 27th player, and only the second since 2000, to achieve the double of a century and five wickets in the same game.
Backed by the confidence of a strong all-round showing, Hafeez began the chase in attacking fashion. He welcomed Ray Price, the one man likely to cause problems on a wearing pitch, with a lofted drive for four and a slog-sweep for six. Taufeeq Umar fell fending an effort ball from Jarvis through to Taibu, but Hafeez kept playing his shots.
He raced to 38 off 44 balls before Price managed to bowl him round the legs off an edge. Azhar Ali and Younis Khan took Pakistan to the brink before Azhar betrayed his inexperience. Normally known for his patience, Azhar gifted his wicket to Price while attempting to hurry Pakistan across the line.
Pakistan's most experienced pair - Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq - ensured there was no further loss and they surged home minutes before lunch. It capped Waqar Younis' stint as Pakistan coach with a win that was hard-fought, yet clinical. The result also underlined Zimbabwe's standing in the Test format: while they aren't entirely lacking on the skills front, they are still some way away from becoming a top-flight side.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo