Williams, Tiripano fight back to keep Zimbabwe alive

Afghanistan – 545-4 declared in 160.4 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 200*, Asghar Afghan 164, Ibrahim Zadran 72; Ryan Burl 1/69, Sikandar Raza 1/79, Victor Nyauchi 1/102). Zimbabwe – 287 and 266-7 in 106 overs (following on) (Sean Williams 106*, Donald Tiripano 63, Kevin Kasuza 30; Rashid Khan 5/105, Sayed Shirzad 1/35, Javed Ahmadi 1/40). Day 4 – Stumps: Zimbabwe lead by eight runs

A magnificent fighting partnership of 124, still unbroken, between captain Sean Williams and Donald Tiripano has saved Zimbabwe from an innings defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in the second Test in Abu Dhabi.

By the close of play this Saturday they had taken Zimbabwe’s second-innings score to 266 for seven wickets, now eight runs ahead of the host team.

Williams is on 106 overnight and Tiripano 63. Zimbabwe began the fourth day with a score of 24 for no wicket in their follow-on innings, with Kevin Kasuza on 20 and Prince Masvaure three.

For nearly an hour they played a wise, cautious game, concentrating on survival and waiting for the right ball to score from. They did a fine job until Masvaure, having scored 15 off 74 balls, hit a low full toss straight back to the bowler, off-spinner Javed Ahmadi; 44 for one wicket.

Only two runs later Kasuza fell as well, for 30, edging a ball from Rashid Khan to Rahmat Shah at slip. Tarisai Musakanda and Williams were now in together and had to rebuild the innings.

The skipper played a positive innings, attacking any loose deliveries, and at lunch the score was 90 for two wickets, with Musakanda on nine and Williams 35. At 101 Musakanda (15) failed to read Khan’s googly and was trapped lbw.

Wessly Madhevere was sadly out without scoring again, prodding at a fine ball from Sayed Shirzad that moved away, and he was caught at the wicket. Sikandar Raza was more fortunate to receive a long hop from Khan that he could pull for six over midwicket to get his first runs, and then Williams scored a five, thanks to four overthrows.

Raza pulled another long hop from Khan for another six, but he was fortunate to be dropped, the fielder being Amir Hamza. Williams reached his fifty off 77 balls, but then survived a close lbw appeal against Khan from a ball that spun in sharply from outside the off stump and may have missed leg stump, and then just avoided being stumped, still being stuck on 50.

Raza hit a third six, but in trying for a fourth he edged the ball to second slip and was out for 22; 140 for five wickets. In the same over Ryan Burl (0) was out lbw to a ball that went straight on, and next over Regis Chakabva (0) swept and missed a straight ball, another lbw.

Tiripano played a positive game and at tea he was on 18, with Williams on 63, when the score was 170 for seven wickets. The partnership flourished after tea, with Tiripano scoring faster than his captain and reaching his first Test fifty off 114 balls.

The hundred partnership came up as Williams entered the nineties, and then with a cut for four off Khan he reached his fourth Test century, which took him 173 balls. The same stroke cleared off the arrears and saved Zimbabwe from an innings defeat.

Despite all the Afghanistan players could do, they were unable to separate the pair before the close and the eighth-wicket pair has taken the match into the fifth day.