x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Mawoyo on cusp of maiden hundred for Zimbabwe

The hosts end the first day of the one-off Test against Pakistan on 245 for four.

Tinotenda Mawoyo, the rookie opener, produced a masterclass in concentration as Zimbabwe reached 245 for four at the close of the first day of the one-off Test against Pakistan at Queens Sports Club on Thursday.

Mawoyo, playing in only his second Test, batted through the day, scoring an unbeaten and unruffled 82 - his maiden half-century - after occupying the crease for six hours and 21 minutes. He faced 213 balls and struck 10 fours.

He also figured in three significant partnerships as Zimbabwe looked to carry on where they left off when they beat Bangladesh in Harare last month.

But all of the Zimbabwe batsmen had to contend with a box full of tricks from Sohail Ajmal, the Pakistan off-spinner, who took three of the four wickets to fall as the home batsmen struggled to pick his doosra.

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, made the contentious decision to bowl first after winning the toss. He pointed to some green on the pitch and said he was not afraid to bat last, but local wisdom suggests that the pitch will be flat and slow - most captains prefer to bat first to put up a big score. It also meant Misbah pitched his own very green attack in at the deep end.

With Zimbabwe making tentative steps back into Test cricket, Pakistan have also used the tour to blood some new players, including their two opening bowlers Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan, who are both making their Test debuts, and the third member of the pace attack Sohail Khan, who is playing just his second Test.

The three quick bowlers, however, could make no impression.