Zimbabwe coasted to a 10-wicket victory against Afghanistan in the first Test on the back of a Sean Williams century and a terrific all-round bowling performance.
The victory was Zimbabwe's 13th in Test history – their last Test win came in 2018 against Bangladesh – and the foundations were laid by their captain, Williams, who scored a terrific 105 in the first innings. Afghanistan were bowled out for 131 and 135, and Zimbabwe knocked off their 17-run target late on the second day.
The day began with Zimbabwe resuming on 133/5, a lead of two runs, with Williams accompanied by Ryan Burl, who was dismissed early in the morning when Ibrahim Zadran trapped him in front for his overnight total of 8.
Regis Chakabva offered good support for Williams though, and the duo took Zimbabwe’s total past the 200-run mark. Afghanistan’s bowlers had dragged them back into the game on the first day, but the 75-run stand between Williams and Chakabva knocked the stuffing out of them.
Chakabva was dismissed by Zahir Khan for a well-made 71-ball 44, after which Williams batted with the tail to reach three figures – it was his third in Test cricket, and it ensured Zimbabwe boasted a lead of 119 at the innings break.
Afghanistan needed a solid display with the bat thereafter. Ibrahim, the opener, provided that from his end, but unfortunately for Afghanistan, he was offered little support. Afghanistan were reduced to 21/5, with five of the top six batsmen snuffed out for single-digit scores.
Once again, it was Victor Nyauchi and Blessing Muzarabani, who shared seven wickets in the first innings, who did the early damage. They nipped out the top order, and Afghanistan’s plight worsened when captain Asghar Afghan departed for a 15-ball 14.
There was some fightback when Ibrahim, who had been playing leading a one-man resistance till this point, found the company of Amir Hamza. The duo put on a 48-run stand to take the total past the 100-mark, but when Ibrahim, late in the day, played a tired shot away from his body and was caught behind, Afghanistan’s time was up.
Hamza ended unbeaten on 21* to go with his six-for in the first innings, but on the whole, it was a day to forget for Afghanistan.
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