Wanted Younis to reach 200 - Misbah
Misbah-ul-Haq wanted Younis Khan to reach his double-century before calling an end to Pakistan's second innings but said the senior batsman would have been fine even if the declaration had come before the individual landmark.
Misbah declared late on day four as soon as Younis hit Prosper Utseya for six to move from 194 to 200, having lifted Pakistan from 169 for 5 to an imposing 419 for 9 to set Zimbabwe a target of 342. The hosts were dismissed for 120 on the final morning, with Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman taking four wickets each.
"I wanted Younis to get to 200 because he really deserved that," Misbah said. "I told him how many overs I was going to give him. He was (on) 188 at the time and said, 'no problem, you can declare as soon as you want'. He is a team man and he would not have said anything if I declared before he got to 200 but I wanted him to get it."
Younis was helped by No 7 Adnan Akmal and last man Rahat Ali in building Pakistan's position, and he acknowledged their roles. "When you've played a lot of Test cricket, you know when to block and when to score runs," Younis said. "I knew that if I batted for most of the day, I could take the lead to almost 300. I had a good partnership with Rahat Ali at the end. He helped me get to 200.
"I think he (Adnan) is a much improved player. I just kept saying to him 'play straight because even though their bowlers are doing well, soon you will get some runs.' Quickly, he had 20 or 30 and when you have that you can go on and get more. That's how Test cricket is."
Younis' unbeaten 200 came after he fell for 3 in the first innings, in his first match for Pakistan in more than five months. He said it was a difficult proposition playing low-ranked teams such as Zimbabwe. "It's very hard because if you do well everybody expects you to do well and if you don't do well, people ask you why you didn't do well," Younis said. "At the end of the day, it is Test cricket and they are playing it because they are good. Look at it, for the first three-and-half days, Zimbabwe won every session and then we just won one or two sessions at the end and we won the match."
Despite taking a 78-run first-innings lead, Zimbabwe were unable to press their advantage and collapsed inside 40 overs on the final day. Younis held the home side's inexperience responsible for their capitulation. "Teams like Zimbabwe need more Test cricket," Younis said. "They need to get more experience because that is the only way they'll know how to go on and win matches. That's the same for everyone. That's how you learn, when you play more Test cricket."
Misbah said he knew Zimbabwe would compete but was confident in Pakistan's ability to recover lost ground. "I expected a fight but I must say they really gave us a tough time," Misbah said. "They were in control for much of the match but I knew my team is capable of fighting back. I thought as long as we had 100 to 105 overs, we could bowl them out."
As it turned out, Pakistan needed just 46.4 overs to run through Zimbabwe, with Ajmal taking his match tally to 11 wickets. "He is a world-class bowler," Misbah said. "Without him, I'd say we couldn't even think of playing. He is a big advantage for us."
With Ajmal in such form and Rehman contributing in the second innings as well, Pakistan did not require the offspin of Mohammad Hafeez. "He is definitely fit for bowling," Misbah said of the Pakistan Twenty20 captain. "He passed a fitness test before this match. But we wanted to use our frontline spinners and that's why I didn't use him."