Chakabva wages lone battle to keep rampant Pakistan at bay

Pakistan – 510-8 declared in 147.1 overs (Abid Ali 215*, Azhar Ali 126, Nauman Ali 97; Blessing Muzarabani 3/82, Tendai Chisoro 2/131, Richard Ngarava 1/58). Zimbabwe – 52-4 in 30 overs (Regis Chakabva 28*, Brendan Taylor 9, Kevin Kasuza 4; Sajid Khan 1/0, Hasan Ali 1/7, Shaheen Shah Afridi 1/16). Day 2 – Stumps: Zimbabwe trail by 458 runs

The fighting spirit of Regis Chakabva was about the only ray of light for Zimbabwe on a tough second day of the second Test match against Pakistan. His unbeaten innings of 28 held Pakistan at bay as they threatened to run through the Zimbabwe batting after amassing a first-innings total of over 500 this afternoon.

Zimbabwe finished the day on 52 for four wicket.

Pakistan resumed their first innings at 9.30am on another sunny morning at Harare Sports Club on 268 for four wickets, with the opening batsman Abid Ali still there with 118 and the night-watchman Sajid Ali with one.

As expected, the Zimbabwe pace bowling pair of Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava opened the bowling to them. Sajid was still on one when he sliced a ball from Muzarabani into the gully, where Wessly Madhevere, the substitute fielder for Roy Kaia, failed to hold a sharp chance.

Abid Ali soon got going, hitting Ngarava for two fours in an over, although the first was a thick edge past the slips. The batsmen progressed steadily for almost an hour, seeing off the fast bowlers, and took the score to 303, at which point Sajid tried to nudge a ball from Donald Tiripano outside his off stump and was brilliantly caught by Chakabva, who dived high and wide to his right to hold the ball one-handed.

Sajid had made 20 and Pakistan were 303 for five wickets – Abid by now had reached 130. Mohammad Rizwan came in next and began to play in positive style, eager to pile on the runs at a good rate.

Rizwan scored 21 and was beginning to look well set when he tried to hit Tendai Chisoro back over his head, but only managed to hit a catch straight to Ngarava at mid-on; 340 for six.

Hasan Ali failed to score, as he slashed at a ball from Luke Jongwe and edged a catch to the keeper Chakabva. Nauman Ali quickly announced himself by driving Chisoro over long-on for six, and at lunch Pakistan had reached 353 for seven, with Abid Ali on 151 and Nauman seven.

The pair continued to hold Zimbabwe during the afternoon session, and Nauman, choosing the loose deliveries well, swung Chisoro for another leg-side six. Abid passed his previous highest Test score of 174 and the Pakistan total passed 400.

Nauman skyed a ball quite deep on the leg side when he reached 41, but the fielders were not quick enough to reach it. The hundred partnership came up as Abid reached his first Test double-century by pulling a short ball from Milton Shumba through midwicket – it took him 393 balls.

Shortly afterwards, Nauman reached his fifty with a four through the covers off Jongwe. He then tried a reverse sweep, but the fielder failed to hold a chance – he celebrated with a slog for six over midwicket.

Nauman went into full attack mode now, hammering the bowling all over the field, with a fair degree of luck, and the Zimbabwe bowlers were unable to break through. The score swept past 500 before the tea interval, when Pakistan had 505 on the board with still only seven wickets down – Abid had 215 and Nauman 93.

Pakistan continued to bat after tea, even with such a large total on the board, so as to oblige Nauman by giving him the chance to reach his century. He lashed the first ball after the break, off Chisoro, to the boundary.

His innings however came to a sad ending, as he flirted with the next ball well outside the off stump, and then lifted his back foot for half a second while the alert Chakabva swept the bails off. On review, Nauman was given out stumped for 97, which he scored off 104 balls with nine fours and five sixes.

Babar Azam therefore declared with a total of 510 for eight wickets, a daunting target for Zimbabwe to face. Muzarabani finished with the best bowling figures, his three wickets yesterday evening with the second new ball for 82, while Chisoro had two wickets for 131.

There was one wicket each for Ngarava, Jongwe and Tiripano.

Kevin Kasuza and Tarisai Musakanda opened the batting for Zimbabwe against the bowling of Shaheen Shah Afridi and the 36-year-old debutant Tabish Khan, who came close to taking a wicket with his first ball, as Musakanda flirted with it outside the off stump.

But Khan was to have his success, as with the final delivery he beat Musakanda with an in-swinger, and the batsman was adjudged lbw, perhaps unluckily. Chakabva, despite his long stint behind the wicket, came in at No 3, hitting the ball when it was there to be hit, while Kasuza played a defensive game.

Kasuza scored four off 43 balls when Hasan Ali had him hanging his bat out to a delivery by his off stump, ending up playing it on to his stumps; 23 for two. Brendan Taylor came in and began soundly, getting off the mark with a leg glance for four and then playing a superb straight drive to the boundary off Hasan Ali, but then popped up a ball that the bowler got his hands to but could not hold.

Afridi then produced a sharply lifting delivery outside the off stump that Taylor tried to play past the slips, only to edge it to the keeper and depart for nine, leaving Zimbabwe reeling at 40 for three.

Shumba played a defensive innings, facing 25 balls for two runs, before he padded up to a straight ball from the off-spinner Sajid that pitched outside his off stump and was given out lbw playing no stroke; Zimbabwe were 47 for four.

Roy Kaia did not come in next, after his knee got injured on day one, and Chisoro came to the wicket to join Chakabva. With dogged resistance they played out the day, Chakabva finishing with 28 and Chisoro one off 19 balls of the Zimbabwe score of 52 for four wickets.