Tiripano claims three scalps but Pakistan remain in control

Zimbabwe – 176 all out in 59.1 overs (Roy Kaia 48, Donald Tiripano 28*, Milton Shumba 27; Shaheen Shah Afridi 4/43, Hasan Ali 4/53, Nauman Ali 1/29). Pakistan – 374-6 in 120 overs (Fawad Alam 108*, Imran Butt 91, Abid Ali 60; Donald Tiripano 3/89, Blessing Muzarabani 1/42, Richard Ngarava 1/83). Day 2 – Stumps: Pakistan lead by 198 runs

Donald Tiripano turned in some fine bowling on the second day’s play of the first Test match against Pakistan at Harare Sports Club today. He took three vital wickets with a persevering and much improved effort, including two batsmen for ducks, as Pakistan went into a big lead, but had to fight for it.

Pakistan resumed their first innings on 103 for no wicket, in reply to Zimbabwe’s first-innings score of 176 – Abid Ali had 56 and Imran Butt 43. Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava opened the bowling, and attacked with much greater accuracy than they had done at the start of the innings, forcing the batsmen to play themselves in again with great care.

Six runs only were scored in the first half-hour, a fine compliment to the two Zimbabwe pacemen. Their skill brought its reward for the team: Tiripano took an over or two to settle down, but Tendai Chisoro was on the spot, and he tempted Abid Ali with one outside the off stump which he went for, and edged to Brendan Taylor at slip.

Abid Ali was out for 60, and the opening stand was now broken at 115. Between the start of play and the drinks break after an hour, Pakistan added just 13 runs for the loss of one wicket.

Chisoro bowled a rare loose ball that Butt put away for two, and so completed his first fifty in his three Test matches, which came off 132 balls. Azhar Ali came in, and after 80 minutes of play he scored the first boundary of the day, an on-drive off Tiripano, and later in the over a thick edge brought him another four through the slips.

In the last half-hour before lunch the batsmen decided it was time to regain the initiative, and they began to play their strokes more freely.

Zimbabwe went into lunch after an admirable fighting session of play, but with the reward of only one wicket for 59 runs, the score for Pakistan now being 162 for one wicket, with Butt on 71 and Azhar Ali 23. Azhar Ali was soon out of the blocks after the interval, taking the attack to the bowlers and playing his strokes with freedom and style.

He drove Tiripano for two fours in three balls, taking his score to 36 in no time, but, he chased the last ball of the over outside the off stump, got a thick edge and was caught by Tarisai Musakanda in the gully; Pakistan 176 for two having caught the Zimbabwe total.

Babar Azam came in, watched Butt take six from an over from Chisoro, and then faced Tiripano’s next over. He drove his first ball firmly to short mid-on, where Roy Kaia picked up a sharp low catch, the first time Azam has been out first ball in Test cricket; 182 for three.

Tiripano bowled the hat-trick ball outside the off stump, and Fawad Alam let it go. Alam was soon underway with some fine fours on the off side and a pull to the boundary when Kaia was put on for his first over in Test cricket.

Zimbabwe delayed taking the second new ball when it was available, but the tactic worked, as Butt, batting with great caution as he approached his century, chased a full-length ball from Ngarava that moved away outside the off stump, and edged it to the keeper.

Butt had played a very good and determined innings to score 91 off 236 balls, with seven fours, and the score was 226 for four. Runs came steadily and Alam reached his fifty with a four wide of mid-on off Chisoro; it took him 72 balls.

Tea was taken with the score at 261 for four, with Alam on 50 and Mohammad Rizwan 13. Runs continued to come steadily in the final session, but still the second new ball was not taken until the 106th over, when it was taken in the middle of an over from Ngarava.

The batsmen completed their century partnership and the stand was finally broken at 333, as Rizwan (45) played rather loosely at a delivery from Muzarabani that cut in to him and played it on to his stumps off the inside edge.

Alam was now on 89, as he was joined by Faheem Ashraf, who was out to the second ball he faced, trying to turn a ball from Tiripano on the leg side and skying a leading edge to mid-on; 334 for six. Soon afterwards Alam reached his century with two successive fours off Tiripano; it took him 144 balls.

This gives Alam a unique record: in his 10 Test matches he has passed 50 on four occasions, and each one he has converted into a century. Hasan Ali came in next and as usual went into hitting mode, hammering Kaia for a four and two sixes in four balls.

The day closed with Pakistan on 374 for six wickets, with Alam still there on 108 and Hasan Ali on 21, a lead of 198 over Zimbabwe with four wickets still in hand.