HARARE // Zimbabwe's unheralded bowling attack plunged Pakistan into deep trouble on the first day of the first Test at the Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
Pakistan were floundering at 182 for eight before Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan added an aggressive 67 for the ninth wicket to enable the tourists to finish the day on 249 for nine.
Tendai Chatara and Tinashe Panyangara, the opening bowlers, went into the match with only five Test caps between them. They started the Pakistan slide with some disciplined bowling at the start of the day. They were backed up by the off-spinner Prosper Utseya and the medium-pacer Shingi Masakadza.
Chatara and Panyangara were guilty of some loose bowling with the second new ball as Ajmal (49 not out) and Junaid (17) gave the Pakistan innings some respectability. Junaid was out to the fifth ball of the final over of the day when he flashed at Panyangara and was caught behind.
Azhar Ali, who made a patient 78 off 185 balls, and the captain Misbah-ul-Haq (53) were the only Pakistan top-order batsmen to shine. They put on 93 for the fourth wicket.
Hamilton Masakadza, standing in for the regular captain Brendan Taylor, was justified in his decision to send Pakistan in as the tourists lost their first three wickets for 27 runs inside the first hour, with both Chatara and Panyangara taking advantage of early life in the pitch.
Chatara struck first when Mohammad Hafeez was caught at second slip off a ball which lifted sharply.
Panyangara followed up with the wickets of Khurram Manzoor, who was leg before wicket to a ball which cut back, and Younis Khan, who was bowled playing tentatively.
Utseya dismissed Misbah and Asad Shafiq in quick succession during the afternoon, with both batsmen falling to ambitious shots, and Shingi Masakadza was rewarded for some accurate bowling when he took two wickets after tea, including that of Azhar, who was drawn into a drive and caught at first slip.
Taylor withdrew on the morning of the match after his wife gave birth to the couple's first child. The Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza replaced him, earning his first Test cap.
The withdrawal of Taylor, Zimbabwe's leading batsman, was the latest setback for the host nation involved in a pay dispute which threatened to prevent the match from taking place.
The players agreed on Monday to play following a commitment by their board to pay outstanding salaries before next week's second and final Test in Bulawayo.
Sean Williams, who disagreed with the agreement on the pay dispute, opted out.
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