Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Harare, 3rd day

Late reward for Pakistan pressure

ESPNcricinfo staff

September 12, 2013

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Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza put on 104 runs together, Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Harare, 3rd day, September 12, 2013
Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza took Zimbabwe's lead past 150 before being dismissed in consecutive overs © AFP
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Even though Zimbabwe dominated most parts of the third day by taking a 64-run lead and then building on it, three wickets in the last nine balls of the day brought the Pakistanis back and has given both the sides chances of winning the Test. Pakistan's bowling coach, Mohammad Akram, said they were confident of getting a few wickets by keeping their line and lengths tight to build the pressure.

"Our plan was to keep it tight," he said. "We knew that if we did that, at some point the door would open and then we could push through it." 

Zimbabwe had taken a first-innings lead in the first Test too but they had to bat last which put added pressure on them when they were set a target of 342 with a little more than a day left. This time, Pakistan will be batting last and are already 185 runs behind with six Zimbabwe wickets remaining. The pitch, Akram said, has not been causing difficulty till now and said it is still a "good wicket" for both bowlers and batsmen.

"So far the pitch has played well," he said. "Everyone was thinking there would be too many snakes in it but it has been good for batting, once you are in. Stroke-making was not easy but there is still something in it for batsmen and bowlers and it's been a good wicket." 

'Not a bad decision to open with Utseya'

  • Two of the four wickets Zimbabwe lost on the third day were of bowlers as Vusi Sibanda could not open due to illness and Prosper Utseya accompanied Tino Mawoyo at the top of the order in the second innings. Panyangara, the nightwatchman who fell for a duck, said Utseya was the right replacement to open with, instead of sending another top-order batsman. Even though Utseya scored only 5, Panyangara defended the decision of openng with him.
  • "He [Sibanda] was off the field after lunch because he was not feeling well," Panyangara said. "The team decided Prosper would be the best one to go and open for us. If you look at it now, it wasn't that bad. As much as we didn't want to lose those wickets at the end, we are still in a good position because two of the guys who are out are not top order batsmen."

Tinashe Panyangara also said the pitch had not deteriorated much so far but hoped that it would on the last two days. "I hope so," Panyangara said with a laugh when asked if he thought the pitch would get worse. "Every day we've thought it would get worse and it hasn't really. But maybe on the final two days it will. It has been playing up a bit but I wouldn't say it's got much worse so far."

Just like Pakistan who had plans of bowling tight, Panyangara said they had planned to bowl around the off stump to keep Pakistan's scoring rate down. Pakistan had started the day at 163 for 3 but collapsed to 230 after lunch, losing their last six wickets for 19 runs. Brian Vitori, who had not been picked for the first Test, claimed the last three wickets in two consecutive overs to take his first five-for in only his fourth Test.

"Our plan was to stay around off stump all the time and keep the run-scoring down," Panyangara said. "If you look at the run-scoring especially after lunch, they never scored at more than three an over. We knew if we did that right, we would get wickets." 

Despite Pakistan's lower-order collapse, Panyangara said they would need "a day at the least " to bowl Pakistan out in the fourth innings after setting them a target. With six wickets in hand, he said they did not have any target in mind and would try to get "as many as possible" before bowling in the fourth innings.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

well 211/4 to 230/10 is a remarkable collapse. only paksitan can do it. i think it is a record.

ZIM in control at moment

They took 5 wickets for 19 after lunch and the lead is 185.

Though Pak got 3 quick wickets at the end but 2nd wicket partnership was a good one for ZIM.

Pakistan need a magic bowling spell otherwise its going to be 300+ which will be hard. Hafeez not performing. azhar on & off. And more importantly asad does not look any good. and tail has already done their best performance in last match. they cant do it again and again.

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