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Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the Harare Test
Firdose Moonda in Harare
September 6, 2013
Missed chance of the day
Zimbabwe's impressive showing so far in this Test was partly the result of commitment to back their intent. They bowled good lines, they did not play reckless shots and they took almost all of the chances that came their way. Almost, because there was one which could have been match-changing. After Tendai Chatara struck in the first over of he morning, Zimbabwe had the opportunity to ensure the lead did not grow too much when Younis Khan tried to cut off the gentle bowling of Hamilton Masakadza. The ball went straight to Tino Mawoyo at first slip who could not get down in time to take the catch. Younis was on 83 at the time and went to make Zimbabwe pay for a rare lapse.
Even costlier missed chance of the day
And then things got worse for Zimbabwe when Younis gave them a second bite at the cherry. He was on 117 when he slashed to gully and Malcolm Waller, who has pulled off some outstanding stops from that position, had to reach up for it. He got hold of the ball but only just and it soon popped out of his hands and trickled away.
Fine-tuning of the day
While Zimbabwe's batsmen were out in the field waiting to see what total Pakistan would set them, one of their own was practicing, but not for the next innings. Brendan Taylor, who had to sit out this match for the birth of his son, was in the nets with Grant Flower during the afternoon session. Baby Mason, who is just three days old was nowhere to be seen but his older brother had accompanied Taylor to the ground and busied himself with playing on the grass embankment while Taylor got his practice done.
Carefulness of the day
Zimbabwe toiled hard without much success for a lengthy period and their success eventually came through a Pakistan error. Younis, who was guilty of running so far down the pitch he could not prevent the ball from rolling onto his stumps in the first innings, was actually responsible for a run-out this time.
After he had completed a run with Adnan Akmal, who had driven the ball to cover, Younis was guilty of ball-watching while Adnan called for a second. By the time Younis sent him back, Adnan had too far to go. Zimbabwe's fielders knew he was too far down the pitch for them to do anything silly. They lobbed the ball gently, from Sikandar Raza at cover to the bowler, Shingi Masakadza who under-armed to Tinashe Panyangara who was backing up. Nobody went for a glory strike, it was all carefully done to ensure the stumps were hit and Akmal had to go.
Displeasure of the day
It's no fun being beaten at your game as Saeed Ajmal found out when he was given out lbw to his opposite number, Prosper Utseya. Ajmal was on the back foot as he tried to defend and was hit in front of middle stump. The ball stayed low as it turned and had he been able to put his own dismissal aside, Ajmal would have seen that as encouragement for later on but in the moment he was so disappointed with not being able to show off his batting skills. Ajmal stood at the crease for a few moments in disbelief before walking off shaking his head.
Declaration plea of the day
When Pakistan's lead swelled past 280, the debate about how much time they would give themselves to bowl Zimbabwe began. With an hour left in the day's play and the target seemingly too large for Zimbabwe, it seemed sensible for Pakistan to get on as soon as possible and Adnan Akmal seemed to think so. He took what looked like a brand new ball and held it above coach Dav Whatmore's head with an expression on his face that seemed to suggest he'd like to use it soon. Whatmore was watching the ninth-wicket stand grow and did not notice the cheeky wicket-keeper for a few seconds but when he did, and realised the moment had been captured on camera, he managed a broad grin.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
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