Zimbabwe may be facing certain defeat in their four-day match against Patron's XI at Karachi, but Ray Price, the veteran left-arm spinner, believes there are still positives to be drawn from the game.
Zimbabwe have largely struggled through three days, bowled out for 209 on the first day and struggling at 111 for six in their second innings. Their bowlers fared little better, conceding 479 runs, though admittedly the local squad has been a strong one.
But Price maintained at the end of day three that the game was a significant one. "The game is very important, especially to get some time out in the middle for our guys. It is important for our batsmen to spend time in the middle and doubly important as we are such a young side," Price said.
Price is one of only two players in the 15-man squad to have played more than ten Tests (and of only two men over 30 years in age) and has only recently returned to the national side. Zimbabwe have been suspended from Test cricket since January 2006 but have since been playing four-day matches against representative sides in order to find a way back.
"It's important for us to keep progressing towards starting to play Test cricket again," said Price. "We're very positive about it. We played some good cricket in South Africa before this [where Zimbabwe won four four-day matches].
"Ultimately, these matches are more beneficial to us, playing four-day cricket against good sides, because we're trying to spend some time in the middle and improve."
Price, one of Zimbabwe's most successful Test bowlers before their suspension, was the tourists' best bowler against the Patron's XI, picking up 4 for 130. "This is my first time in Pakistan but I always enjoy bowling in the subcontinent."