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Pacers and openers put Pakistan in control on day one

Harare, 29 April 2021: Four-fers from pacers Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi and an unbeaten century stand by openers Abid Ali and Imran Butt put Pakistan in a strong position against Zimbabwe at the conclusion of the first day of the first Test at the Harare Sports Club on Thursday.

The tourists were only 73 runs behind Zimbabwe and will resume their innings on Friday morning with 103 runs on board without a loss of any batsman.

Zimbabwe were bowled out for 176 after Brendon Taylor decided to bat after calling the toss right. Debutant Roy Kaia, who batted at six, was the only batsman to put up a notable resistance with a 94-ball 48, while the next best score came from Donald Tiripano as he made 28 not out.

Zimbabwe lost their first wicket without any runs on board as Kevin Kasuza chopped on a Hasan Ali delivery onto the stumps on the penultimate ball of the second over.

Shaheen struck next as he induced an edge off Prince Masvaure in the ninth over after hurling down beautiful out-swinging deliveries across his opening spell.

Troubles for the hosts compounded as they lost Tarisai Musakanda and Taylor next – the two batsmen dismissed by left-arm orthodox Nauman Ali and Hasan, respectively – with the scorecard reading a paltry 30 for four.

A 59-run stand between Milton Shumba (27) and Kaia breathed hope for Zimbabwe recovery, but the former’s run out squashed it.

The final nail in the coffin came in the shape of Kaia’s blow when Hasan set him up brilliantly with short-pitched deliveries and followed them up with a scorching yorker that pinned the batsman on the popping crease.

In his next over, he brought Regis Chakabva forward and had him edge a length delivery into the hands of Imran, stationed at slip cordon. Following the dismissal, Shaheen came to the party and rolled over the tail and reached the milestone of 50 Test wickets.

Hasan finished with four for 53 and Shaheen with four for 43.

Zimbabwe bowlers was struck runs at almost three and a half runs an over when they took the field in the evening session.

Abid Ali scored his second Test half-century as ended the day with 56 runs next to his name. The right-handed 33-year-old batsman smashed 10 fours after getting off the mark on his 14th delivery.

He was duly supported by Imran Butt, who is playing his third Test after making his debut against South Africa earlier in the year at the back of a brilliant run in the first-class cricket. He was only seven runs short of his maiden half-century when the stumps were called and as such, he had posted his best score in the format with 43 not out.

Scores in brief:

Zimbabwe 176 all out, 59.1 overs (Roy Kaia 48, Donald Tiripano 28 not out, Milton Shumba 27; Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-43, Hasan Ali 4-53)

Pakistan 103-0, 30 overs (Abid Ali 56 not out, Imran Butt 43)