Zimbabwe stumble after century stand

Harare: Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor shared a century partnership before Zimbabwe suffered a collapse on the first day of the second Test against Pakistan at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe were 237 for eight at the close of play.

Masakadza (75) and Taylor (51) put on 110 for the third wicket but the rest of the batting crumbled on a pitch which had cracks that caused several deliveries to keep low.

Masakadza`s dismissal, caught at slip off a Saeed Ajmal `doosra`, was the first of six wickets that fell for 94 runs before the close of play.

Masakadza and Taylor came together after Zimbabwe lost their first two wickets for 31 runs.

Tina Mawoyo was caught behind off Junaid Khan without scoring off the second ball of the match after Taylor won the toss and decided to bat.

Vusi Sibanda battled to 14 off 44 balls before dragging an attempted pull against Rahat Ali onto his stumps.

Masakadza, who captained the team in the first Test when Taylor withdrew because of the birth of his first child, batted solidly as he reached a half-century off 98 balls, taking advantage of any loose deliveries to hit eight fours and a six.

Taylor, by contrast, looked out of touch early in his innings and was given a torrid time by left-arm pace bowler Junaid. He scored only seven runs as the partnership became worth 50 but he played with more fluency to contribute 32 of the next 50. He faced 128 balls and hit six fours.

Junaid was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers and was unlucky not to have a better return than his three for 55. Fellow left-arm opening bowler Rahat Ali took two for 48 and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman two for 37.

One of Rehman`s victims was Elton Chigumbura, who was bowled by a delivery which barely rose off the turf after hitting a crack.

Pakistan won the first Test by 221 runs. With the second and final match of the series being played at the same venue as part of a cost-cutting exercise by Zimbabwe Cricket, there was concern that pitch preparation might have been affected.

There were only two non-playing days between Tests, and Taylor said at the toss that he did not want to bat last after having had a look at the pitch.