x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Hafeez's century puts the tourists in command

A century from Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan dominate day three of their one-off Test against Zimbabwe, with the tourists reaching 357 for five at stumps in Bulawayo.

A century from Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan dominate day three of their one-off Test against Zimbabwe, with the tourists reaching 357 for five at stumps in Bulawayo.

Azhar Ali, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan also added half-centuries on what proved to be a frustrating day for the home side's pace attack, although Greg Lamb had most of their success in picking up three wickets.

By close of play, Pakistan trailed their opponent's first-innings total of 412 by just 55 runs.

Pakistan resumed on 116 for one with Hafeez and Ali looking to build on their overnight partnership of 108. And luck was on their side in only the second over of the session when Hafeez, who began the day on 79, sent a delivery from Chris Mpofu straight back to the bowler, who failed to hold onto the catch.

It was a let-off for Pakistan and they set about making the most of it with fours arriving at regular intervals for the batsmen.

Ali smashed a boundary to bring up his half-century and Hafeez followed suit an over later to pass the hundred-mark.

The pair took their stand to 188 before Hamilton Masakadza made the breakthrough for Zimbabwe, with a low full toss which Hafeez swiped straight into the grateful hands of Lamb with the tourists on 196 for two at lunch.

It had been an impressive performance from Hafeez, who smashed 19 fours and a six in his 177-ball knock.

Ali had been hoping to join Hafeez as Pakistan's second centurion of the match but came unstuck in the afternoon on 75, edging Lamb's delivery to Tatenda Taibu behind the wicket.

Misbah and Younus took up the challenge, though, and further frustrated Zimbabwe's bowlers to move Pakistan on to 280 for three at tea.

The pair then picked up where they left off in the final session of the day and Misbah passed his fifty in the ninth over after tea.