Pakistan will be aiming to extend their winning run in Test cricket when they take on Zimbabwe in the second and final match of the series, which starts on Friday.

Babar Azam's side crushed their hosts by an innings at the Harare Sports Club in the previous meeting, making it three victories on the spin in the format.

Another success at the same venue will see Pakistan achieve their best Test-win streak since managing five consecutive triumphs between December 2011 and February 2012.

Zimbabwe, in contrast, have not prevailed on home soil since September 2013, recording two draws and eight defeats since that last success over Pakistan.

Their problems in the opener stemmed from a lack of runs; bowled out for 176 first time around, they managed just 134 in the second innings.

No home player registered a half-century as Pakistan pace bowler Hasan Ali finished with nine wickets in the match to help his team charge over the line inside three days.

Pakistan could even afford for skipper Babar to get a first-ball duck as they piled up 426 in their one and only innings, Fawad Alam leading the way with 140 as he showed Zimbabwe how to play on a sluggish pitch, batting for nearly five hours in total.

The all-rounder's century was his third in five Tests, having made 102 against New Zealand last December and then 109 in the first Test with South Africa in Karachi in January.

Prince Masvaure did not bat for Zimbabwe in their second innings due to a thumb injury that rules him out of contention. However, captain Sean Williams could be fit to return to action, while Craig Ervine and Wesley Madhevere may also be back to bolster the home team's line-up.

 

Hasan on the rise

Pace bowler Hasan claimed career-best figures of 5-36 in Zimbabwe's second innings, his third five-wicket haul in Test cricket in 2021. Indeed, he has taken 21 scalps at an average of just 15.5 in the format this calendar year.

His reward is a move up to 20th in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, having only been recalled to the XI earlier this year for the home series with South Africa after a two-year spell out in the cold.

Taylor-made milestone in sight

Zimbabwe's stand-in captain Brendan Taylor admitted his team failed to capitalise on the opportunity to bat first after winning the toss in the opener, bundled out inside two sessions.

He will hope to contribute more himself, particularly with a landmark in sight. Taylor is 66 away from becoming only the third man to post 1,000 Test runs at Harare Sports Club, a feat only previously achieved by Andy and Grant Flower.

Key match facts

- Zimbabwe have managed to record one multi-game Test series victory over Pakistan (D1, L5); after going 0-1 down in this two-game series, they cannot improve upon that record this time around.
- Pakistan have won five of the past six Tests between the nations, while Zimbabwe have gone six without success at Harare Sports Club (D1, L5).
- Zimbabwe managed to catch nine of their 10 opportunities in the field during the series opener, while Pakistan dropped four catches and only recorded a 60 per cent success rate (6/10).
- Donald Tiripano was responsible for eight of the 10 runs scored from reverse sweeps in the first Test; he has logged more runs from that stroke than any other batsman in Tests during 2021 (35).
- Zimbabwe bowled 14 full tosses in their one innings in the series opener, almost three times the number Pakistan logged in their two attempts (five).

Hasan Ali claimed personal Test-best figures as Pakistan ended their wait for an away victory with a hammering of Zimbabwe on day three.

The tourists had gone 11 matches without success as the touring side in the longest format, stretching back to a win at Lord's in 2018, but wrapped up a crushing victory by an innings and 116 runs at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

Hasan took 5-36 - including his 50th Test scalp - as Zimbabwe were bowled out for only 134 in the final session. Those were his best innings figures in a Test, and the paceman finished with a match haul of 9-89.

Nauman Ali also chipped in with 2-27 as the hosts folded from 92-2, Tarisai Musakanda top-scoring with 43 at the top of the order.

Pakistan were earlier bowled out for 426, Blessing Muzarabani claiming 4-73, as they secured a huge first-innings lead of 250 runs.

Babar Azam's side had resumed on 374-6 and Fawad Alam moved from 108 to 140 before he was superbly caught behind by Regis Chakabva slashing at a delivery from Muzarabani.

Hasan also fell to Muzarabani for 30, while Donald Tiripano (3-89) and Richard Ngarava (2-104) also struck before Zimbabwe folded with the bat for a second time in a short match.

 

Dream return for Hasan

Hasan had been absent from the Pakistan Test team for two years before making his return in January.

The 26-year-old was named man of the match after taking 10 wickets in the second Test against South Africa and carried on where he left off in Harare.

Hasan has taken 21 wickets in three Tests in a dream comeback, reaching the landmark of 50 wickets in the longest format in only his 12th game. He was unsurprisingly rewarded for a stunning performance with another man of the match award.

 

Zimbabwe batting frailties exploited

Zimbabwe were always going to be up against it after they were skittled out in two sessions on day one.

They showed some resistance second time around but then lost seven wickets for 42 runs. Prince Masvaure was unable to bat due to a hand injury,

Fawad Alam scored his fourth Test century to put Pakistan in complete command of the first Test against Zimbabwe on day two in Harare.

The tourists started the day in an extremely strong position, having skittled Zimbabwe for 176 and then reached stumps on 103 on day one.

Openers Imran Butt and Abid Ali (60) were well set and they each kicked on to post half-centuries, Butt coming nine runs short of a hundred.

But, after a show of resistance from the Zimbabwe attack, which included Pakistan captain Babar Azam going for a duck, it was Fawad who stole the show with an unbeaten 108.

He led Pakistan to 374-6 at the close, a lead of 198, and will Hasan Ali (21 off 18) for company at the crease as they look to further their control on day three.

Butt and Abid put on 115 for the first wicket, however, after the latter edged to first slip to give the breakthrough to Zimbabwe, the hosts continued their inroads as Donald Tiripano removed Azhar Ali (36) and then dismissed Babar first ball when the skipper pushed a full delivery to straight mid-on.

Yet by that point, Pakistan already had a 50-run lead and Fawad ensured that advantage would be added to considerably.

He reaped the rewards for a measured innings and his century was brought up with a four following a misfield at mid-off.

Mohammad Rizwan's 45 also helped Pakistan's cause, while Hasan struck two sixes and a four to accelerate things further before stumps.

Fawad continues fine form

Three of Fawad's centuries have come since December 2020, with the left-hander making the most of the second act of his Test career having spent more than 10 years in the wilderness.

He scored 102 against New Zealand last Boxing Day and then 109 versus South Africa on home soil in January. His career-best remains his 168 against Sri Lanka back in 2009, but that total could be under threat if he maintains his composure here.

Babar tripped up by Donald

An ill-advised shot from Babar in which he was tempted in a risky drive off the bowling of Tiripano saw him go for a golden duck for the first time in his career. It is his first of any variety in Test cricket since October 2018 against Australia.

Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali tore through Zimbabwe as Pakistan dominated day one of the Test series at the Harare Sports Club.

Zimbabwe were bowled out for only 176 after Brendan Taylor, captain in the absence of the injured Sean Williams, won the toss and opted to bat first.

Afridi and Ali took four wickets apiece as tourists as Zimbabwe were skittled out before tea and Pakistan looked set for a substantial lead after closing on 103 without loss.

Roy Kaia, one of three Zimbabwe debutants, top scored with 48 but it was all about Pakistan's new-ball duo at the start of the two-match series.

Afridi (4-43) claimed his 50th Test scalp in only his 16th match, the same number as it took the great Wasim Akram to reach that landmark, and Ali (4-53) was also outstanding.

They bowled with great skill and discipline along with Nauman Ali (1-29), reducing the hosts to 30-4 before fellow debutant Milton Shumba provided some support for Kaia in a fifth-wicket stand of 59.

Donald Tiripano made an unbeaten 28 but Zimbabwe's shortcomings with the bat were exposed as Pakistan look to end a run of 11 games without a victory away from home in the longest format.

An unbroken opening stand from Abid Ali (56) and Imran Butt (43) put Pakistan in an ominous position at stumps.

 

Afridi emulates Akram

At just 21-year-old, Afridi has raced to half a century of Test wickets at the same age and in as many matches as Pakistan legend Akram.

Afridi and Ali played a big hand in a Test series win over South Africa and they did damage with the red ball once again as Zimbabwe bid to secure a first Test away win for almost three years - the previous success coming against England at Lord's.

Kevin Kasuza dragged on an Ali delivery before Zimbabwe had a run on the board and they were 30-4 when Taylor fell to the same bowler for only five.

They showed some fight after lunch, but lost their last five wickets for 52 runs, with Afridi cleaning up Tendai Chisoro for his 50th scalp before bowling Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava.

 

Kaia a plus, umpire Rusere makes history

One positive for Zimbabwe was an encouraging knock from Kaia, who showed some resistance after coming in at number six in the opening session.

He struck seven boundaries in almost two hours at the crease, just missing out on a half-century on debut when was snared leg before by the excellent Ali.

One Zimbabwean who will have fond memories of the day is umpire Langton Rusere, who became the first Black African to stand in a Test match.

South Africa will be hoping some fresh faces can lead to a change in fortunes in Pakistan as the two nations switch focus to the Twenty20 format. 

Lahore will stage all three matches in the series, which comes after Pakistan recorded a 2-0 sweep over the same opponents in Test action. 

However, many of the Proteas who featured in that series are not involved in the T20 fixtures, including captain Quinton de Kock. 

Heinrich Klaasen is instead in charge for the tourists, while Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde are the only members of the squad who have stayed on after Test duty. 

The stand-in skipper insists that while South Africa may be lacking in experience, those on duty are determined to seize the opportunities that come their way during the trip. 

"South Africa has got loads of talent, which people sometimes don't see because we only have six franchises," Klaasen said. "We are by no means a second-string T20 squad, and we are looking to win." 

Klaasen revealed he is now "fit and safe" after overcoming COVID-19, though it took a heavy toll on him physically. He put up an Instagram post during his recovery to make clear the effects of the virus, in which he wrote: "Covid is real and didn't think it would be this hard to come back". 

As for Pakistan, they have named a 20-man squad that includes four uncapped players but is missing Mohammad Hafeez, who failed to come to an agreement over the date he was to enter the group's bio-secure bubble. 

Fakhar Zaman and Wahab Riaz are also notable absentees having been dropped, while Shadab Khan is ruled out through injury. 

Zafar Gohar, Danish Aziz, Zahid Mehmood and Amad Butt are the quartet of new faces, while Hasan Ali – the hero for the hosts in the second Test with 10 wickets in the match – is back involved again in the shortest format.

Pakistan go into the opening game on Thursday having won 14 of their previous 18 T20 matches on home soil (L4), including the last five in a row.


Babar right up there with the best

No matter what the format, Babar Azam is crucial to Pakistan. The right-handed batsman has scored the most amount of runs in T20 cricket at international level since the start of 2018, managing 1,213 across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.

After a relatively quiet Test series in terms of his individual output, Babar will be eager to capitalise on a new-look South African attack that is without the services of pace trio Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.

Positive spin to help Proteas

Shamsi is one of the few who has remained for the T20 series; the left-arm wrist spinner was ruled out of the first Test with a back injury and then did not feature in the second match.

The 30-year-old has played in 25 T20 games for South Africa, taking 21 wickets at 33.33 with an economy rate of 7.69 runs per over, and has the chance to become a pivotal member of the XI, particularly with a World Cup in the format to come in India later this year.

Key series facts

- South Africa have never lost a multi-game bilateral T20 series in Asia, winning five times out of a possible six in the continent (D1).
- Since the start of 2018, Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed (18 catches and five stumpings) has been directly involved in the joint-most T20 dismissals among those featuring for a Test-playing nation (23 – level with Alex Carey and Tim Seifert).
- Since the start of 2018, Babar Azam has scored the most runs in the T20 format, managing 1,213 runs across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.
- Only David Miller from the current Proteas squad has played a T20 international game in Pakistan, having represented the World XI in 2017. He has logged 20 catches in the format since the start of 2018, the third-most of those to feature for a Test-playing nation.
- Faheem Ashraf recorded more dot balls than any other player during the T20 series against New Zealand in December 2020). He has only been able to claim four wickets at an average of 41.3 in Pakistan, however.

Hasan Ali claimed his maiden 10-wicket Test match haul as Pakistan completed a 2-0 series whitewash of South Africa despite a century from Aiden Markram.

Seamer Hasan took 5-60 as the Proteas collapsed to 274 all out Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Monday, losing by 95 runs after looking poised to level the series.

Hasan finished with magnificent match figures of 10-114, inspiring Pakistan to a first series triumph over South Africa since 2003.

South Africa had been going along nicely on 241-3 chasing 370 to win, but the tourists fell apart after Markram was dismissed for a superb 108.

Markram's fifth Test hundred – and his first since March 2018 – proved to be in vain as Hasan was once again the star of the show on the final day.

Temba Bavuma made 61 and Rassie van der Dussen 48, but South Africa lost seven wickets for only 33 runs, Shaheen Shah Afridi also doing damage, taking 4-51.

Quinton de Kock fell for a golden duck, while Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada also failed to trouble the scorers.

Victory for Pakistan moved them up to fifth in the Test rankings and was their first series win since beating Bangladesh 12 months ago, bringing the Proteas back down to earth after their 2-0 defeat of Sri Lanka.

South Africa have now lost four of their past five series and are unable to respond with a victory over Australia on home soil after the series was postponed.

Hasan's Test-best stuns Proteas

South Africa could not contend with Hasan in the first innings and it was the same story on the final day of the series.

He saw the back of Van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis (five) in the morning session, then came to the party again with the second new ball

Hasan claimed the big wicket of Markram, who was caught by Imran Butt, then dismissed captain De Kock first ball before sending George Linde packing. Afridi also delivered for Pakistan, with Yasir Shah sealing victory by bowling Wiaan Mulder when he charged down the track.

Markam stakes captaincy claim

It proved to be a day to forget for the tourists, but Markram's knock was a major positive.

The opener showed his class, batting for over five and a half hours – hitting three sixes and finding the rope 13 times – as he staked his claim for the captaincy.

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