Afghanistan’s Hashmatullah Shahidi celebrates after scoring a double century against Zimbabwe on day 2 of their second Test match in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Courtesy: ICC website
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
A historic double hundred from Hashmatullah Shahidi (200 not out) and captain Asghar Afghan's (164) put Afghanistan comfortably in the driver's seat on Day 2 of their second Test against Zimbabwe at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Thursday.
Zimbabwe ended the day on 50/0 after Afghanistan declared on a mammoth 545/4 after Shahidi became the first from his country to score a Test double century.
Afghan and Shahidi posted a partnership of 307 runs for the fourth wicket. Afghan's 164 was momentarily the highest score by an Afghanistan batsman in Test cricket before Shahidi overtook him.
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch continued to hold up for batsmen but Zimbabwe will still need to score 346 to avoid the follow-on and the prospect of facing Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who is likely to get spin from the third day.
Openers Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza, with 29 and 14 respectively, were at the crease when stumps were drawn, after a day dominated by a 307-run fourth wicket stand between Shahidi and Asghar.
Resuming at 307-7, they added 121 more runs before spinner Sikandar Raza trapped the Afghan skipper leg-before in the second session.
The 307-run stand is the highest-scoring partnership for any wicket by Afghanistan batsmen in six Tests so far, beating the second wicket stand of 139 between Ihsanullah Khan and Rahmat Shah against Ireland in Dehradun in 2019.
Asghar batted for 370 minutes, hitting 14 boundaries and two sixes in his maiden century.
Shahidi added another 117 for the fifth wicket with Nasir Jamal who made 55 not out.
In all Shahidi's monumental innings lasted ten minutes short of ten hours, spiced with 21 boundaries and a six.
Ryan Burl (1-69), Raza (1-79) and Victor Nyauchi (1-102) were Zimbabwe's wicket takers.
Zimbabwe lead the two-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test by ten wickets, also in Abu Dhabi.
Skipper Sean Williams smashed an unbeaten 106 shared a century partnership for the eighth wicket with Donald Tiripano (63 ) helped Zimbabwe avert an innings defeat against Afghanistan and take the second Test into the fifth day at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Saturday.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed a stunning 87, and Rashid Khan took a three-wicket haul to help Afghanistan register a 48-run win in the opening T20I against Zimbabwe in Abu Dhabi.
Afghanistan were facing an innings defeat at 81-7 but opener Ibrahim Zadran fought hard during his 76 - his second half-century - and added 48 for the eighth wicket with Amir Hamza who remained 21 not out.
Namibia reached the Twenty20 World Cup second round for the first time on Friday when they defeated Ireland by eight wickets.World number 19 Namibia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, chased down their modest target of 126 with skipper Gerhard Erasmus making an unbeaten 53.
Fans from both the nations have shown immense interest in watching Sunday's game in Dubai as tickets for the key contest were sold out hours after they went on sale early this month.
Ireland and Namibia face off in a knockout clash of the T20 World Cup with a Super 12 berth at stake in Sharjah on Friday. The match will mark the exit for the loser while winners will punch a ticket for the Super 12, which gets under way on Oct.23.