Gumbie, Makoni fight back with fifties to keep Shaheens at bay
Pakistan Shaheens – 521-3 declared in 115.3 overs (Omair Yousuf 250*, Muhammad Hurraira 178, Hussain Talat 51*; Tanaka Chivanga 1/67, Faraz Akram 1/77, Victor Nyauchi 1/89)
Zimbabwe A – 225 and (following on) 157-1 in 42 overs (Joylord Gumbie 74*, Tanunurwa Makoni 57, Dion Myers 17*; Mohammad Ali 1/46)
Day 3 – Stumps: Zimbabwe A trail by 139 runs
Joylord Gumbie and Tanu Makoni restored Zimbabwe A’s pride on the third day of the first four-day match against the Pakistan Shaheens with a century opening partnership after they had been forced to follow on at Kwekwe Sports Club on Friday.
By the close, the home side had reached 157 for only one wicket in their second innings and given themselves hope of forcing a draw against the touring team.
Zimbabwe A began the day on 112 for four wickets in their first innings – Roy Kaia had 12 and Faraz Akram one.
They started off well, adding another 54 runs in partnership before both were out in quick succession to the pace bowler Mohammad Ali, Akram for 23 and Kaia for 47.
Milton Shumba and Nyasha Mayavo then made some useful runs in partnership, 23 and 18 respectively.
However, big scores were needed, and too many of the Zimbabwean batters made useful starts of 15 or more, but failed to convert them into the major innings their team required.
The innings ended dreadfully for the home side, as the left-arm spinner Mehran Mumtaz finished it off with a hat-trick, the last three wickets falling on 225.
Shumba slogged a catch straight to the fielder at cow corner to depart for 23.
Victor Nyauchi was beaten by the first ball he received, edging a catch to first slip, while the last man, Tanaka Chivanga, lofted a catch straight to long-on off the next delivery.
Mumtaz thus finished with five wickets for 47 runs off 17.3 overs, and Zimbabwe A were required to follow on 296 runs in arrears.
This time, however, they looked like a different team as they went out to bat again.
From the start, Gumbie and Makoni played the bowling confidently and well, showing very good shot selection, and by tea they had scored 46 without loss.
They continued to shine in the final session, when they brought up their century partnership, a fine effort.
Both reached their fifties soon afterwards, Makoni off 89 balls and Gumbie off 80.
Soon afterwards, though, with the score and their partnership on 125, Makoni was out, edging a catch to the keeper off Ali for 67, scored off 109 balls in three hours.
Dion Myers replaced him and joined Gumbie in confident cricket, to take the score to 157 for one wicket at the close.
Gumbie had moved his score on to 74, a fine innings, while Myers had 17.
There will be a hard fight on the final day, Saturday, to salvage a draw, but with good batting of this type the Zimbabweans can achieve it.