Pakistani batsmen Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali (right) walk off after being dismissed by Zimbabwe on day four of the second and final Test in Harare yesterday.
HARARE: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq stood firm as his side lost five wickets chasing victory on the fourth day of the second Test against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Set 264 to win, Pakistan were 158 for five at the close of play, setting up a tense last day with Zimbabwe having a realistic chance of sharing the series and earning a rare victory against one of cricket’s major nations.
Misbah was unbeaten on 26 and will resume batting today with wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal (17 not out), with Pakistan needing another 106 runs to win. Pakistan made an aggressive start to the chase after bowling out Zimbabwe for 199, breaking a trend of slow scoring on a wearing, cracked pitch. But they were forced to become more cautious as the Zimbabwe bowlers struck at regular intervals.
First-change bowler Tendai Chatara made a crucial breakthrough when he dismissed Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali in quick succession to reduce Pakistan to 46 for two in the 12th over.
Opening batsman Manzoor Ahmed stroked his way to his second half-century of the match, hitting 11 fours in an innings of 54 before he was caught at short leg off off-spinner Prosper Utseya.
That brought Misbah in to join fellow veteran Younis Khan but Pakistan suffered a huge blow when Younis was bowled for 29, shaping to play left-armer Brian Vitori to leg and losing his leg stump.
Misbah might have given a difficult chance when he was on 14, with wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami diving far to his right but unable to hold on to a low deflection. But Mutumbami made no mistake when Asad Shafiq tried to cut Utseya and top-edged the ball into the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
Chatara finished the day with two for 29 from 13 overs, while Utseya had two for 40 from 13 overs.
Earlier, left-arm opening bowler Rahat Ali took five for 52 as Zimbabwe were bowled out after adding only 78 runs to their overnight 121 for four.
Pakistan won the first Test at the same venue by 221 runs.
Zimbabwe have only won 10 of their previous 93 Test matches, with six of the wins coming against fellow minnows Bangladesh.
But they have beaten Pakistan on two occasions, in 1994/95 and 1998/99. They have also beaten India twice, most recently in 2000/01. REUTERS
Strauss backs Pietersen as England ‘mentor’
BIRMINGHAM: Andrew Strauss believes Kevin Pietersen can act as a “mentor” to an inexperienced England one-day side despite his own sometimes difficult relationship with the star batsman.
England are 1-0 down in a five-match series, with their convincing 88-run loss at Old Trafford separating rain-ruined no results at Headingley and again at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
But whatever the outcome of the series, which continues in Cardiff today, Strauss believes the experience of playing alongside Pietersen can only benefit the likes of 22-year-old all-rounder Ben Stokes.
“He can be really good with young players, actually,” Strauss told reporters at Edgbaston. “I think it’s good that he’s playing this one-day series, and him opening the batting in one-day cricket is an interesting and potentially quite explosive option for England to use.
“Given that he’s had injuries, and whatever, it’s quite nice for him to have a good run of cricket.
“I hope he is playing that mentoring role and playing it well,” Strauss saud.
“I suppose Kevin is a complicated character. But he can be fantastic, really good and engaged in the dressing room and really go out of his way to help other people at times.
“You want to see him do that, because he’s at the stage of his career now where he’s got a lot to offer those young players coming through -- and they all look up to him as well,” the former Enland skipper added.
“So it’s good to hear that he’s doing that,” Strauss said.