Hasan Ali delivers a ball during the first day of the first Test against Zimbabwe on Thursday. Twitter photo
Pakistan dominated the opening day of the first Test against Zimbabwe on the back of some destructive pace bowling by Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi in Harare on Thursday.
Hasan finished with 4-53 while Shaheen grabbed 4-43 as Zimbabwe — who won the toss and batted — were dismissed for a paltry 176 on a slow pitch at Harare Sports Club.
Abid Ali then replied with a solid unbeaten 56 while fellow opener Imran Butt made 43 not out as Pakistan closed the day on 103 without loss. Both Abid and Imran were cautious at the start, having failed miserably in Pakistan's 2-0 home series win over South Africa in February.
Abid took 13 deliveries to open his account but once he got underway with a pull for four off Richard Ngarava, he eased into his work striking nine further boundaries.
Pakistani players celebrate after dismissing a Zimbabwe batsman. Twitter photo
Imran, who had managed just 36 in his first four Test innings, was more circumspect as the pair offered no chances to Zimbabwe's inexperienced bowling attack.
Debutant Roy Kaia stood firm in the post-lunch session, top-scoring with 48 before falling leg-before to Hasan while Donald Tiripano chipped in with 28 and Milton Shumba, also playing in his first Test, scored 27.
Zimbabwe seemingly recovered when Shumba and Kaia lifted them from a precarious 30-4 with a stand of 59 but an unfortunate run out of Shumba put an end to the fight.
Shaheen reached 50 Test wickets by dismissing Tendai Chisoro before taking the last two wickets to wrap up the innings.
Zimbabwe were hit hard on the eve of the match when regular skipper Sean Williams was ruled out with a hand injury while another experienced batsman Craig Ervine also failed to recover from a calf injury.
In the first session, Hasan was the star as he removed opener Kevin Kasuza, who played on in the second over of the day for nought, and Taylor for five.
It was another welcome performance for the 26-year-old who had multiple injuries after the 2019 World Cup.
“Ever since I have returned from injury my performance is good,” said Hasan who took his first 10-wicket haul against South Africa at Rawalpindi two months ago.
“I worked so hard on my batting and bowling and enjoyed taking wickets despite it being a slow pitch.
“Getting Taylor so early was great because he is an experienced batsman.”
The fourth day of the Test in Harare lasted just over 20 minutes as Pakistan, needing a single wicket, had Luke Jongwe caught by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan to give Shaheen Shah Afridi his fifth wicket.
Abid said scoring a maiden Test double century was a career highlight. "It's a big achievement for me. I wanted to bat for two sessions to take the total to 500. Although we lost a few early wickets Nauman gave me good company and we managed to take the total to where we wanted," he said.
Fast bowler Hasan Ali continued his mastery over Zimbabwe's batsmen with a career-best five for 27 as Zimbabwe lost six wickets for 80 runs in an extended morning's play.
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