Azhar, Misbah slam half-centuries but Pakistan stumble against Zimbabwe on Day 1 at tea

Azhar Ali is unbeaten on 63 at tea on Day One of the first Test at Harare © AFP

Sep 3, 2013

Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq slammed half-centuries to steady Pakistan’s first innings but Zimbabwe were in the driver’s seat at tea on Day One of the first Test at Harare.

Pakistan were 156 for five at tea.

Misbah scored 53 off 94 balls, slamming seven fours. He was dismissed by Prosper Utseya. Vusi Sibanda took a brilliant catch at short mid-wicket.

Azhar Ali remains unbeaten at 63.

Earlier, Zimbabwe set aside its pay dispute and struck at Pakistan to leave the visitors wobbling at 74 for three by lunch.

Seamer Tinashe Panyangara took  two wickets and his new-ball partner Tendai Chatara had in-form opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez caught at second slip for 5.

Stand-in Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza won the toss and elected to field first after regular captain Brendan Taylor had to be with his wife, who gave birth recently.

Zimbabwe took the field only after the Zimbabwe Cricket Union agreed to clear the players’ dues before the second test next week. However, middle-order batsman Sean Williams preferred to wait for his dues to be cleared and opted out of the first Test.

Hafeez, man of the series in Pakistan’s 2-1 victory in the one-day internationals last week, pushed at Chatara’s delivery which got some extra bounce and edged to Vusi Sibanda for Zimbabwe’s first breakthrough in the seventh over.

Panyangara then had Khurram Manzoor (11), playing his first test match after three years, leg before wicket and clean bowled Younis Khan (3) in successive overs to reduce Pakistan to 27-3.

Misbah and Ali resurrected the innings with an unbroken 47-run stand. Misbah looked more aggressive than his usual watchful style and struck five boundaries while Ali was circumspect by hitting two fours among 64 deliveries.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 156 for 5 (Azhar Ali 63*, Misbah-ul-Haq 53; Prosper Utseya 2 for 27, Tinashe Panyangara 2 for 45) vs Zimbabwe.

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