Match reports


At Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, December 9, 10, 11, 13, 14

At Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, December 9, 10, 11, 13, 14. Pakistan won by 52 runs. Toss: Zimbabwe. Test Debut: Ashfaq Ahmed.
But for a collapse of nine wickets for 52 on the final day, Zimbabwe might have won their first-ever Test victory and levelled the series. Set 240 to win, they cruised to 135 for one, thanks to Dekker and Campbell. Once Campbell went, however, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram ripped through their batting, Zimbabwe were all out for 187 and the series was Pakistan's. Dekker remained unbeaten after 289 minutes, the first Zimbabwean to carry his bat in a Test.
A seaming pitch at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, which superseded the Pindi Club and became the 71st Test ground, produced a low-scoring match. Pakistan dropped their two spinners as Wasim returned after a wrist injury; his seven for 133, combined with Waqar's nine for 138, secured his first win in four Tests as captain. Zimbabwe retained off-spinner Peall, who hardly bowled, and switched one medium-pacer, Brain, for another, Rennie. All Flower's seamers performed extremely well to contain Pakistan's unpredictable line-up. On the first day, only 185 runs came from 75 overs, and that owed much to Asif Mujtaba and Rashid Latif, who added 54 for the sixth wicket before the close. But though Mujtaba reached an unbeaten and disciplined fifty, Pakistan were dismissed for 245 after lunch next day. Brandes, Brain and Streak shared the wickets, with Brain taking four for 41 in 32 overs.
Zimbabwe reached 129 for four by the close, which might have been more had Campbell not fallen to a dubious - and unpopular - lbw decision by umpire Javed Akhtar. In 69 minutes, he had scored a swashbuckling 63 from 55 balls, with 11 fours and a six, and added 102 with Dekker. On the third day, they passed 200, with only one more wicket down, before losing three for one run. Their eventual lead was nine. But they followed up that slight advantage with three Pakistani wickets for 40 that night, which became five for 58 next morning. Pakistan escaped from this precarious position through some uncharacteristic fielding lapses by Zimbabwe and another steady fifty from Mujtaba, who added 74 with Basit Ali and 77 with Latif. They reached 248 on the last morning, Streak finishing with eight for 114 in his second Test.
Zimbabwe had 67 overs to score 240 and, though the first ball completed a pair for Grant Flower, a sporting crowd of 15,000 chanted their praises as Dekker and Campbell added 135 in three hours. But when Campbell was caught off Ata-ur-Rehman - after hitting ten fours and a six - Zimbabwe went to pieces. Wasim and Waqar split the last eight wickets. Only one more batsman, Peall, reached double figures before he gave Inzamam-ul-Haq his fifth catch of the match with 4.4 overs to spare. We had an opportunity to create history, said Zimbabwe coach John Hampshire, but then it isn't easy to bat against Wasim and Waqar.
Man of the Match: Waqar Younis.
Close of play: First day, Pakistan 185-5 (Asif Mujtaba 25*, Rashid Latif 32*); Second day, Zimbabwe 129-4 (M. H. Dekker 37*, H. H. Streak 0*); Third day, Pakistan 40-3 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 9*, Javed Miandad 1*); Fourth day, Pakistan 221-8 (Wasim Akram 5*, Waqar Younis 1*).