Pakistan’s batting woes returned to haunt them as Zimbabwe pulled off a dramatic 24-run win to level the series on the fifth day of the second Test at the Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Inexperienced Zimbabwe fast-bowler Tendai Chatara took five for 61 as Pakistan were bowled out for 239 despite an unbeaten 79 by Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq.
“The batting is a bit of a worry,” said Misbah, looking ahead to Pakistan’s next Test series against the world’s top-ranked Test side, South Africa, in the UAE next month.
“All the batsmen have to learn from their mistakes. You can’t win Test matches with twenties and thirties. You have to score big runs like Younus Khan did in the first Test.”
Younus scored the only century of the series, an unbeaten 200 in the first Test, which Pakistan won by 221 runs at the same venue.
Misbah and opening batsman Khurram Manzoor both scored two half-centuries in the second Test, while Younis contributed 77 in the first innings. But the rest of the batting failed against the spirited Zimbabwean attack.
“Zimbabwe deserved the victory,” said Misbah. “They played excellent cricket in the first Test as well. From the start they were positive and they kept us under pressure throughout the game.”
‘Beating a world-class team is a wonderful feeling’
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor praised his team. “It takes a lot of character to come back from a big loss. Beating a world-class team is a wonderful feeling.”
He said the bowlers had performed particularly well considering the team did not have a bowling coach.
Taylor said Zimbabwe’s performance in the first Test, in which they were on top for much of the match, had shown the importance of not relaxing. “Even though we won the Test we learnt a lot from the way Pakistan went about playing.”
It was only Zimbabwe’s fifth win against a major Test nation – their third against Pakistan – and their most significant victory since they beat India in 2000-01.
Resuming at 158 for five, Pakistan suffered an early blow when Chatara trapped Adnan Akmal leg before wicket with only five runs added.
Abdur Rehman scored 16 in a seventh wicket partnership of 34 with Misbah, before being caught behind off Tinashe Panyangara.
Chatara returned to the attack and immediately claimed the wicket of Saeed Ajmal.
Misbah faced 161 balls in reaching 58 at lunch. He stepped up the pace after the interval, which included taking 11 runs off an over from Chatara.
However, when Junaid faced the second new ball, which was taken with 26 runs needed, Chatara caught him at gully with the fourth delivery.
Last batsman Rahat Ali edged a single off the next delivery before being sent back as Hamilton Masakadza swooped to pick up the ball, sparking exuberant celebrations by the Zimbabwe players.
Pakistan drop to sixth in ICC Test rankings
After their defeat, Pakistan dropped two spots and conceded five rating points to go from fourth to sixth in the latest International Cricket Council Test (ICC) Rankings. Pakistan are now below Australia and the West Indies, who are fourth and fifth respectively.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe returned to the rankings for the first time since May 2007 and are placed ninth ahead of Bangladesh with 34 rating points.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2013.
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