Pakistan's senior players credited the bowlers for the team's Test victory over Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. After conceding 412 runs in the first innings, Pakistan bowled their opposition out for 141 in the second, leaving their batsmen with only 88 runs needed to win the match.
"After the first day, the management worked really hard with the youngsters and the way they came out on the morning of the second day was the major turning point," Mohammad Hafeez, opening batsman and offspinner said. "The pressure was on the bowling, much more than the batting, and the hard work from our bowlers really made the difference."
Pakistan were made to toil by Tino Mawoyo, who carried his bat through the first innings in the course of scoring 163 in over ten hours. Although he struggled at times, particularly against the spin of Saeed Ajmal, Mawoyo's marathon knock kept Pakistan on the back foot for most of the first two days and captain Misbah-ul-Haq was pleased to see the fight the team showed from that position. "After the way the match started, with them scoring over 400 runs, I thought it was good to see how we came back."
The comeback started with Hafeez's quickfire 119, a wonderful package of strokeplay, after two days of placid prodding from Mawoyo. "It was my own plan to bat aggressively against them," he said. "I feel I have some responsibility as a batsman and I wanted to show that."
After Hafeez departed, Younis Khan planted roots in the pitch, scoring 88 off 265 balls, and steered Pakistan to what turned out to be an important lead. "The pitch slowed down a lot and batting was more difficult," Hafeez said as an explanation for Younis' method. "But, it was a good Test pitch and we really enjoyed batting on it." Younis made his comeback after missing out on the series against West Indies and Misbah said much more can be expected from Younis now that he has, "proved that he is the main man for us."
The rest of the batting, with the exception of Taufeeq Umar who was out in single figures in both innings, also gave a respectable account of themselves. Misbah said they have been working towards building such an innings for almost a year. "Since the series against South Africa last November, we have done well with the bat and we've have seen some real improvement," he said. "Hopefully we will be able to continue to be consistent in future."
Their aims for continuity could be dented by the loss of their coach, Waqar Younis. The win marks Waqar's last Test as Pakistan coach after 18 months in the job, and Misbah said the team was sorry to see him go. "We had just settle down as a team and started to understand each other, so this will definitely affect the team, but we will have to adjust."
Zimbabwe are in a similar situation, seeking fluency after making their return to Test cricket last month against Bangladesh, following five-year exile. Misbah had kind words for his opponents, praising their development as a Test team. "They played wonderful cricket," he said. "They put us under pressure and made things difficult for us. Their discipline was good and they will do well in future."