HARARE: Pakistan took nine wickets in an extended morning session to beat Zimbabwe by 221 runs on the fifth day of the first Test at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
Zimbabwe, set an unlikely 342 to win, were bowled out for 120.
Left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan made the initial breakthrough, taking two wickets in his first eight balls of the day after Zimbabwe resumed at 13 for one.
Then spinners Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal took over, finishing with four wickets apiece.
Left-armer Rehman, who followed up Junaid’s opening burst by taking the next three wickets, took four for 36, while Ajmal wrapped up the tail to take four for 23.
Off-spinner Ajmal finished with match figures of 11 for 118, the fourth time he had taken 10 or more wickets in a match.
Zimbabwe were in trouble from the sixth ball of the day when captain Hamilton Masakadza gloved a short delivery from Junaid to gully.
Overnight batsman Vusi Sibanda was out lbw in Junaid’s next over to reduce the home side to 19 for three.
Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller, who shared a century partnership in the first innings, provided some resistance with a fourth wicket stand of 30 before Waller swept left-arm spinner Rehman to backward square leg where the tall Rahat Ali stretched skywards to hold a catch.
Raza was dropped by wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal off Rahat when he was on 17 but made only seven more runs before he was caught at short leg off Rehman.
Elton Chigumbura took advantage of ultra-attacking fields to strike 28 off 35 balls, with five fours, before he became Rehman’s third victim, caught at slip.
Wickets tumbled and play was extended when Zimbabwe were eight down at the scheduled lunch break, enabling Pakistan to complete an early victory in a match in which Zimbabwe had the better of the first three day’s play.
An unbeaten double century by veteran Younis Khan gave Pakistan the edge though, and he was later named man of the match.
“Zimbabwe won the game for three-and-a-half days,” admitted Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
“Younis played a match-winning innings that changed the game.”
Zimbabwe had led by 78 runs on the first innings and were still on top deep into the Pakistan second innings before Younis’ unbeaten 200 allowed the tourists to declare on 419 for nine, leaving Zimbabwe with what proved an impossible task.
Misbah acknowledged that Zimbabwe had played well for much of the match but said his team need to improve in the second Test, which starts at the same venue on Tuesday. “We need to be on the money right from the start,” he said.
Hamilton Masakadza, who took over the captaincy when Brendan Taylor withdrew on the morning of the match after the birth of his first child, said Zimbabwe had fought hard and played well for much of the match.
“The main thing is to focus on the positives,” said Masakadza.
“We did compete and we were ahead for three-and-a-half days. The bowlers bowled really well and the batsmen applied themselves in the first innings.”
Scores: Pakistan 249 and 419-9 declared (Younis Khan 200 not out; Prosper Utseya 3-137) def. Zimbabwe 327 and 120 (Elton Chigumbura 28; Saeed Ajmal 4-23, Abdur Rehman 4-36) by 221 runs.