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Late strikes give Pakistan hope

Bowlers take three wickets in nine balls before stumps, leaving Zimbabwe 121 for 4, leading by 185 runs

Late strikes give Pakistan hope - Cricket News
Brian Vitori took his first five-wicket haul in Tests.
Three wickets in the last nine deliveries of the day for Pakistan reclaimed a hard-earned advantage for Zimbabwe on the third day of the second Test at Harare Sports Club on Thursday (September 12). 

A century partnership between Hamilton Masakadza and Tino Mawoyo promised to carry Zimbabwe to a massive lead before it stumbled from 117 for 1 to 121 for 4 at the close, a nonetheless significant lead of 185 runs. 

Zimbabwe had a first-innings lead of 64 after Brian Vitori claimed five wickets as the Pakistan lower order folded meekly -- the final five wickets adding just 19 runs -- for a total of 230 in reply to Zimbabwe’s 294. 

Vitori’s 5 for 61 was his first five-wicket haul in Tests, but he was well supported by Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara. 

Pakistan lost momentum when the fourth-wicket partnership between Misbah-ul-Haq (33) and Younis Khan (77) was broken with Vitori having Misbah, the captain, caught at slip with a fine away swinger. 

Chatara bowled a perfect off-cutter to clip the top of Asad Shafiq’s off stump, although the bowler was almost denied the same result he achieved in the first match when the third umpire ruled a marginal decision in favour of Chatara, who was close to over-stepping. 

Pakistan’s downward spiral was accelerated when Panyangara had Younis caught at mid-off for 77, and then trapped Abdur Rehman in front for a duck with the next ball. 

“That was a fantastic performance from our bowlers. Panyangara and Vitori bowled really well. We have always said that Vitori has that ‘X’ factor and after that five-for, things went our way,” said Stephen Mangongo, the Zimbabwe assistant coach. 

“We are expecting to bat for at least a session tomorrow. That will be fine because the wear and tear on the pitch will make it very difficult to chase anything between 240-250,” added Mangongo. 

Zimbabwe opened with the unusual combination of Mawoyo and Prosper Utseya, who was promoted up the order in place of Vusi Sibanda, who had an upset stomach which prevented him from batting. Sibanda is, however, expected to be fit to bat in the morning. 

Utseya did not last long, effortlessly caught at short leg for five. Mawoyo and Masakadza then gave an impressive display of both shot selection and defensive restraint during a stand of 104, which threatened to take the game away from Pakistan. 

Mawoyo salvaged some pride after three low scores following injury, with a patient but well-crafted 58 off 165 balls before falling lbw to Rehman. Masakadza departed in similar fashion to Rahat Ali for 44 and Panyangara, the nightwatchman, edged his second delivery from Rehman to slip. Brendan Taylor, the Zimbabwe captain, will resume the innings on Friday without a run to his name, but with a great incentive to win a rare Test match against a major nation. He will almost certainly need to contribute a half-century for his team to have enough runs to do so.

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