Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st Test, Harare, 5th day September 7, 2013

Spinners, Junaid rout Zimbabwe


Pakistan 249 (Azhar Ali 78, Misbah 53) and 419 for 9 dec (Younis 200*, Akmal 64) beat Zimbabwe 327 (Waller 70, Chigumbura 69, Raza 60, Ajmal 7-95) and 120 (Ajmal 4-23, Rehman 4-36) by 221 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The probability of Zimbabwe holding out for a draw was extinguished early on the final morning, not by the expected threat Saeed Ajmal, but by Junaid Khan and Abdur Rehman. On a wearing pitch with turn and uneven bounce, Zimbabwe's batsmen were simply ill equipped to combat a situation where only longevity at the crease, and not runs, mattered.

Ajmal returned for a second spell late in the first session and cut through the tail, striking twice in an over to complete the fourth ten-wicket haul of his Test career. Pakistan took the nine wickets they needed during an extended session, and while they were always favourites to close out this contest, they might have expected Zimbabwe to be less feeble.

With the luxury of runs, Misbah-ul-Haq deployed his catchers: three slips and a gully for Junaid, and a slip, a leg gully, a forward short leg and a short midwicket for Ajmal. As Zimbabwe's batsmen prodded tentatively off front foot and back, the cries from these men grew louder.

Junaid ensured Pakistan's wait for success was brief. In his first over, he delivered one that angled into the right-hander from round the wicket but the ball did not bounce as much as Hamilton Masakadza thought it would from short of a length. He held his wrists around waist height, playing no shot, and the ball crashed into the bat near the gloves and popped up to gully. In his next over, Junaid trapped Vusi Sibanda lbw with one that kept lower. Zimbabwe were 19 for 3 before the coffee had cooled.

Zimbabwe's batsmen had a torrid time against Junaid. He sprinted in from round the wicket, targeting the stumps with the angle, and got several deliveries to beat the bat by straightening or seaming away from the right-handers. He did not take another wicket, though.

Malcolm Waller and Sikandar Raza had begun to stitch a partnership together when Misbah replaced Ajmal with Abdur Rehman in the first over after the drinks break. Waller drove Rehman's second ball to the straight boundary and then swept the third in the air and was caught at square leg.

Zimbabwe's middle-order batsmen got starts and they played shots but they could not last. Raza, another relatively set batsman, was caught at short leg, giving Rehman his second wicket and reducing Zimbabwe to 58 for 5.

Elton Chigumbura was Zimbabwe's last significant line of defence, and he found the boundary occasionally through the sparsely populated outfield. His last four came by pushing hard at a flatter ball from Rehman and edging past first slip. Rehman bowled a similar delivery next ball but slowed his pace, Chigumbura pushed forward again and this time the edge went straight to slip.

Ajmal's twin strikes came just before the scheduled lunch break, which prompted the umpires to extend the session by 15 minutes. It was only a matter of time. Towards the end of that extension, Rehman darted a flat one into Tinashe Panyangara's pads.

With Zimbabwe nine down, the umpires kept the players on for a little longer. Ajmal had the final word, taking his 11th wicket to give Pakistan their first Test win since February 2012, and Dav Whatmore's maiden victory as their coach.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on September 9, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    It is a wake up call for Pakistan who believed to win by an inngs or so. They just escaped after allowing 1st inngs lead to a team like ZIM! The significance of this series is that it is a close contest of two equal strength teams.

  • Dummy4 on September 9, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    Although Team Pakistan won the major concern surely has to be that a minnow team like Zimbabwe bossed the game for three days and a bit. The other concern is that none of the youngsters apart from Azhar, Junaid and Adnan made any significant contribution. I know Rahat batted well but he is in the side for taking wickets. On the basis of the performance by youngsters future of Pakistan cricket looks bleak and drastic actions need to be taken to correct it e.g. improving standard and quality of domestic cricket. For the second test I would like to see two changes. In place of Hafeez they should play the young batsman, Shan Masood. In place of Rahat I think Wahab Riaz should play. I also want to see Shafiq batting at number 3 and being given more responsibility as he has potential. My XI for second test would be: 1. Manzoor; 2. Azhar; 3. Shafiq; 4. Younis, 5. Misbah; 6. Shan Masood; 7. Akmal (prefer Sarfraz but he is not in the squad); 8. Wahab; 9. Rehman; 10. Ajmal; 11. Junaid.

  • Ali on September 8, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    Rahat Ali played a great hand in 93 run record partnership in the last innings with some sensible brute hittings. He should not be dropped he is great prospect for allrounder.

  • ali on September 8, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    PAK should get rid of HAFIZ

  • Yasir on September 8, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Subhan:This made my day..Khurram was unlucky to be given out..I don't know what was umpire thinking at that time..& about the match..Peoplel always expect a win margin of 400 Plus runs against such teams lol

  • Ali on September 8, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Pakistan top order is a real mess and need to sort out it fast I agree Hafeez is no good against new ball and he has no chance against steyn prepare a replacement for him as soon as possible. If India can axe player like gambhir and shewahg why we are so reluctant. misbah should take stand like dhoni for the team not for the players.

  • Dummy4 on September 8, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    @kingsland are u alright? Asad Shafiq is the only man other than younus who scored 100 in Sa. A batsmen with an average of 40+. for me he is better than azhar ali.

  • Dummy4 on September 8, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    A win is a win, congrats to green shirts.. They will definitely sort out their problems with their morale high and come strong in next match, And please don't underestimate Zimbabweans.. they played very professional cricket, unluckily for them that younus stood there to them else almost on the verge of victory .. and be that any team, the match would have been the same if Zimbabwe play like this.. Hats off to them for putting up a great fight.. And DRS should be applicable everywhere, who knows, maybe everyone would have been praising Khurram now provided he had reviewed his decisions in both innings.. And how can people forget legendary innings, if younus had scored 10-15, maybe he would have been cursed and considered a big burden, feel sorry for senior players (Misbah and hafeez (at least consider his bowling) ) playing for such a nation..

  • Android on September 8, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    after reading the comments,l realized that most of non Pakistanis not digesting the Pakistan win. they all refer 2 drop catches of Yonus Khan. dropping of catches is a part of game. Pakistan also droppef catches in the game. no team takes 100 percent catches. Adnan Akmal dropped catch of Sikander. unfortunate run out of Adnan Akmal in second inning. its all part of the game.

  • Aram on September 8, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    Zimbabwe did pretty well to stretch the test till 5th day. on the other hand Pakistan need to sort out its fast bowling option. Rahat Ali was okay. He is young at test lecel and also condition weren't easy to bowl. He should play in the second test. Hafeez should be dropped from the test squad and shan masood should be given a chance. Can anybody tell me what is Khurram doing in there?? He had his chances before and he is a complete failure. Nasir should have been included instead of Khurram.