HARARE: Babar Azam will look to continue his unbeaten record as Pakistan Test captain when Zimbabwe and Pakistan clash in the second and final Test at the Harare Sports Club on Friday.
Pakistan won the first Test at the same venue comprehensively beating Zimbabwe by an innings and 116 runs. Hasan Ali’s nine wickets coupled with Fawad Alam’s knock of 140 helped Pakistan cruise to a comfortable victory. Babar is yet to face defeat as Test captain of Pakistan.
With a solid team in place, it will be interesting to see whether Pakistan give a chance to either of the uncapped fast bowlers Tabish Khan or Haris Rauf in the playing XI.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, will be hoping for better performance with bat and ball. Apart from the opening pair of Kevin Kasuza and Tarisai Musakanda, none of the Zimbabwe batsmen were able to deal with the Pakistan bowling attack in the second innings of the Test.
Their regular captain Sean Williams is expected to return to the fold after missing the missing the first Test because of an injury. He will likely replace one among Tarisai Musakanda and Roy Kaia.
The hosts might also look to give a chance to Luke Jongwe, who had a successful T20I series.
In the first Test, Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat. After losing early wickets, Roy Kaia led the recovery allowing them to set a first-innings total of 176.
Pakistan rode on knocks of Fawad (140), Imran Butt (91) and Abid Ali (60), enabling them to post a solid first-innings total of 426. The visitors wrapped the Zimbabwe second innings for 134 with a sensational bowling display led by Hasan, who took a five-for in the second innings.
Brendan Taylor, who stood in for Williams as captain, conceded his team was never in a position to push Pakistan in the first Test.
“Day one’s batting let us down, we got bowled out in two sessions and we were always behind the eight-ball after that. We need to pull our socks very quickly and try to make some adjustments for the next Test,” Taylor said. “We were sloppy this game as a batting group but we will try to come back stronger.”
ZIMBABWE: Sean Williams (captain), Roy Kaia, Kevin Kasuza, Brendan Taylor, Tarisai Musakanda, Wesley Madhevere, Regis Chakabva, Luke Jongwe, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Blessing Muzarabani, Victor Nyauchi, Milton Shumba, Tendai Chisoro, Richard Ngarava.
PAKISTAN: Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Tabish Khan, Sajid Khan, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf.
Umpires: Langton Rusere (Zimbabwe) and Marais Erasmus (South Africa).
TV umpire: Iknow Chabi (Zimbabwe).
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe).