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Firdose Moonda in Harare
September 4, 2013
Report : Ajmal strikes but Zimbabwe take lead
Features : Sibanda's pain, and a father-son moment
Features : Zimbabwe batsmen balance aggression with patience
Matches: Zimbabwe v Pakistan at Harare
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of Zimbabwe
Malcolm Waller is hopeful Zimbabwe's tail can wag with the vigour Pakistan's did if the home team wants to avoid batting in conditions which may be too difficult to chase a target. Although Hamilton Masakadza believed the pitch would not deteriorate too much on the final day of the match when he won the toss and chose to bowl, Waller indicated some of the cracks could cause problems for Zimbabwe when they bat again.
"I think the fourth innings will be very different," Waller said. "There are few footmarks for the left-handers and there are some cracks. Even though they are not opening up much, they might do later on. When we come to bat again, it will be different and we will see a bit more turn."
Zimbabwe have a slim first-innings lead of 32 but with three wickets in hand, will draw inspiration from their opposition's ninth-wicket stand of 67. With that aim, they will also look to deny Pakistan what Waller considers the best of the batting conditions on the middle day of the match. "Tomorrow will be really good for batting," he said. "It might do a bit in the morning but if we can see that off and bat for as long as possible that will be good for us."
Being down to their last batting pair of sorts means a large amount of the run-scoring responsibility will fall on Elton Chigumbura and Shingi Masakadza, who turned 27 today and said he plans to the spend the evening "quietly". Against a Pakistan attack with a ball just seven overs old, Waller said the line-up knows exactly what they are up against. "Make no mistake, their whole attack is very good. We know we are up for a fight against these guys," he said. ''But we've gone in there really positive and we'll do that again."
Waller said the new coach, his father, had helped the batsmen adapt their techniques to batting longer, which was what they failed to do in previous Tests. "He's done a lot of work with us," he said. "He communicates very well and it seems to be working. We are following game plans better."
Saeed Ajmal agreed that Zimbabwe displayed more staying power than he has known them to but attributed some of it to the placid pitch. "They played very well but the wicket is a flat-batting track. There is no turn," he said. "Only when the ball is older, like maybe 60 overs, it is turning a little. But it's not sharp turn, it's slow turn."
With little to assist him, Ajmal confessed he was "not happy" with his figures because "I have to take a few more wickets". But for now, he is content to leave it to the likes of Rahat Ali to do the damage and in the process cement a place in the team. "He is a youngster and he is learning. In the future, he will be very good for Pakistan," he said.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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