Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced an eight-match white-ball series between the West Indies Women and Pakistan Women and a historic six-match white-ball series between the West Indies Women 'A' Team and Pakistan Women 'A' Team, with both series taking place in Antigua from June 30 to July 18. The Tour will see the return of Women’s international cricket to the Caribbean for the first time in 19 months due to the impact of COVID-19.

Pakistan will arrive in the Caribbean on June 23 ahead of the T20 International (T20I) series, which starts on June 30. The T20Is and T20 'A' Team matches will be played on the same day and at the same venues as “double-headers”. The teams will then switch gears as they head into a five-match CG Insurance One Day International (ODI) Series and three-match CG Insurance 'A' Team One-Day Series starting on July 7 and 10 respectively.

All matches will take place at the two ICC accredited grounds in Antigua, the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and the Coolidge Cricket Ground. The ODI series will be vital preparation for both teams as they will face each other in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers that are due to take place in Sri Lanka in December for one of the three remaining qualifying spots for the Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, 2022.

CWI’s investment in Women’s cricket is one of eight key initiatives within CWI’s strategic plan, designed to develop the next generation of women cricketers, increase participation in the sport and generate additional opportunities for competition at the highest level.

CWI’s Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams said: “This is a very significant home tour for our women and we are delighted that our counterparts at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have worked with us to arrange these two series despite all the challenges we face with COVID-19. CWI continues to invest in our international Women’ program by hosting extended High-Performance camps between tours, two of which have already been held this year.

"In addition, the opportunity to host our first ever ‘A” Team Series is brilliant, as it means that our developing players will get the chance to compete against high-quality international opponents and push for selection to the senior team. The series is also an important part of our preparation for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in December. Our goal post this Pakistan series is to have our squad play against more international opposition and take part in our Regional Tournament before heading to the Qualifiers in Sri Lanka at the end of the year.”

The West Indies Women last played in the Caribbean in a bilateral series against India in November 2019, following which all home cricket was postponed in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19. The West Indies Women last played on the Sandals West Indies Women’s Tour to England in September 2020 in a five-match T20I series.

 

 

Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah have been recalled to the Pakistan Test squad for their series against West Indies.

Pakistan will play two Test matches in the Caribbean in August.

Seamer Abbas - who has 84 Test wickets at an impressive average of 22.80 - had been dropped for the series' against South Africa and Zimbabwe.

But the 31-year-old has been rewarded for his productive spell with Hampshire in the County Championship.

Eighteen-year-old paceman Naseem is also recalled after struggling with a back injury for much of 2020.

Tabish Khan and Salman Ali Agha are not included in the 21-man squad which is led by captain Babar Azam, with the involvement of Yasir Shah subject to his fitness.

Pakistan will also play five T20I matches against West Indies, with that tour preceded by three ODIs and as many T20Is against England.

Wicketkeeper Azam Khan has made the T20I squad for the first time, while Imad Wasim is also included.

Haris Sohail and Saud Shakeel are back in the 50-over group after regaining their fitness.

"We have remained consistent in our selection and kept the same core of cricketers who have been in the set-up for a while," chief selector Mohammad Wasim said. 

"This is an extremely important and critical tour for Pakistan as we will be playing the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs against England as well as the T20Is against England and the West Indies as part of our preparations for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. 

"The Jamaica Test will count towards the ICC World Test Championship. As such, keeping in view the above and in consultation with captain Babar Azam and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, we have tried our best to maintain the winning combinations but at the same time recalled four experienced players and rewarded uncapped Azam Khan for his domestic performance, while also giving him the required confidence for the future challenges.

"Mohammad Abbas has regained his form, Naseem Shah and Haris Sohail have reclaimed the required fitness standards, while Imad Wasim has been recalled considering the T20 World Cup is likely to be held in the UAE and he enjoys an excellent record there." 
 

Test squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf , Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah (subject to fitness), Zahid Mahmood.

ODI squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir.

T20I squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Usman Qadir.

Despite admitting that life inside consecutive bubbles has taken a toll on him mentally, Jamaican all-rounder Andre Russell has vowed to do all he can to lift the Quetta Gladiators once the Pakistan Super League T20 competition resumes on June 9.

Former West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, has admitted that a nasty delivery faced by batting legend Brian Lara from Pakistan fast bowling great Shoaib Akhtar made him fearfully question whether he wanted to continue playing cricket.

The incident took place during the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy in a semi-final encounter between the teams.  Lara, then the West Indies captain, was on 30 when the brutish delivery from the Rawalpindi Express spat off the pitch and caught the evading batsman in the back of the neck.

Sammy, then a 19-year-old, had watched from the bench.

“When I made my debut for the West Indies in the Champions Trophy, I remember Pakistan playing West Indies at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire. They were opening with Mohammad Sami, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar," Sammy told The Current.

 "I saw Shoaib Akhtar bowling a bouncer to Brian Lara and hit him in the head. Brian Lara fell back, probably almost unconscious. I was sitting, and I was 19 years old next to Dwayne Bravo. I literally questioned whether I wanted to play cricket again. Shoaib Akhtar did that to me,” he added.

After staying down for a while, Lara left the field injured and did not return.  The West Indies, however, ended up winning the match easily with seven wickets to spare.

West Indies leg-spinner, Hayden Walsh Jr, admits he is eager to put a difficult year behind him, with solid performances in the upcoming series of T20 internationals.

The 29-year-old was named as part of a preliminary 18-man squad that recently began preparations to face South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan in a flurry of upcoming T20 internationals. 

The group was named with preparations for the T20 World Cup in mind, which is slated for India later this year.  Despite not featuring in a number of matches for the regional team this year, he was one of 18 players offered an international retainer contract.  Chief of selectors Roger Harper went on to explain that the player’s status as the only quality leg-spinner, in the region, prompted the selectors to include him in the team’s retainer plans.

The player suffered from misfortune last year after being forced to pull out of the tour to Bangladesh, after testing positive for Covid-19.

 “I’ve been having a tough year so far, so the fact that I am still in the plans and I still have a lot to work for, it’s still a good feeling,” Walsh said in an interview with the Antigua Observer.

“I started out the year testing positive for Covid, which ruled me out of the Bangladesh series, which I was really looking forward to. I came back to the Super 50 and I didn’t really do as well, mainly because I’ve been in isolation and I didn’t have any preparation,” he added.

 “If that did not happen, then I probably most likely would have been around the T20 and One Day squads against Sri Lanka, so I feel like I’ve missed out a lot.”

 

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced an action-packed schedule for the West Indies Men, featuring three consecutive international home tours against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, from June to August 2021.

The Test and T20 International (T20I) series against the Proteas, rescheduled from 2020, will start the International summer. The world-renowned tourism destinations of Saint Lucia and Grenada will be the West Indies host venues. South Africa are due to arrive at St Lucia on June 1 and will play two Test matches at The Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, followed by five T20Is at the Grenada National Cricket Stadium from June 26 to July 3. CWI is grateful to the Governments of St Lucia and Grenada for agreeing, at relatively short notice, to host the touring South Africans. This will be the first time that South Africa has played bilateral cricket in the West Indies since 2010.

The July 9 to 24 Australia white-ball tour of the West Indies will also begin at St Lucia’s Darren Sammy Cricket Ground hosting five T20Is. The Aussies then move on to Barbados for three day/night CG Insurance One Day Internationals (ODIs) at the world-famous Kensington Oval. The CG Insurance ODIs provide the opportunity for West Indies to secure more points in the ICC ODI Super League, as the West Indies strive to qualify automatically for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup following the recent 3-0 victory against Sri Lanka. https://www.icc-cricket.com/cricket-world-cup-super-league/standings

Pakistan is scheduled to arrive in Barbados on July 21 ahead of their five-match T20I Series, with the first two matches to be played at Kensington Oval before travelling to Guyana to play the concluding three T20Is at Guyana’s National Stadium from 26 to 29 June. The West Indies and Pakistan teams will then travel to Jamaica for two back-to-back Test matches at Sabina Park from August 12 to August 24 which conclude four days prior to the start of the Caribbean Premier League in St Kitts.

This schedule features a total of fifteen T20Is for the reigning ICC T20 World Champions, as the West Indies continue the build-up to their title defence at the ICC T20 World Cup, in October and November 2021.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave said: “Following the successful hosting of the all-format series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, we are delighted to announce that we are set to welcome South Africa, Australia and Pakistan to the West Indies. To host three international teams back-to-back in five territories is unprecedented, and putting these fixtures together was an enormous Covid-related logistical challenge. We must thank the visiting teams for agreeing to travel at this challenging period for world cricket and we are especially grateful to our regional Governments who are playing such a vital role in partnering with CWI to ensure that International cricket can be hosted safely while providing entertainment for our loyal fans and income for our cricketers and cricket communities.”
CWI has also been working closely with Territorial Cricket Boards, along with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sport in all the host countries, to orchestrate all the logistics and agree the safety and medical protocols for the tour. All players, support staff and match officials will stay, train and play in a bio-secure environment, with regular COVID-19 PCR testing taking place with the assistance of Ministries of Health and from CARPHA.

It is not yet determined whether fans will be able to attend matches in person, however, they will be able to follow live on TV in the Caribbean with Flow Sport, live on radio with Vibes FM and their partner radio stations and via ball-by-ball updates and the new live blog in the match centre on www.windiescricket.com.

Pakistan eased to a 2-0 series win over Zimbabwe with a victory by an innings and 147 runs in their second Test at Harare Sports Club.

The hosts won the first Test inside three days but were just about taken to a fourth day this time around after Regis Chakabva and Brendan Taylor stood firm for Zimbabwe.

However, Pakistan required just one wicket in Monday's session, and they got it in five overs thanks to Shaheen Afridi, who finished on 5-52 by taking Luke Jongwe (37).

Jongwe and Blessing Muzarabani initially looked comfortable and added 11 runs to Zimbabwe's tally before the former was coaxed into a drive by Shaheen.

The ball edged through to Mohammad Rizwan to send Zimbabwe packing for 231 as Shaheen joined Hasan Ali and Nauman Ali in taking five wickets in the one-sided series.

It marked the first time Pakistan had three bowlers claim five wickets in the same Test. Such a feat has only been achieved six times in Test cricket history and not at all since 1993.

Hasan Ali was named the player of the series for his twin five-wicket hauls in the first and second Tests, which he put down to his hard work paying off.

"It's been a good tour for me," he said. "The pitch wasn't good for bowling, getting slower every day. 

"But the plan was simple: keep bowling stump to stump and let the batsmen make mistakes. Whenever you execute well, it's a pleasurable moment for me. 

"I'm very happy. I had hard work in the previous year. It is paying off and I'm looking forward to continuing this performance for my team."

Pakistan are on the brink of a 2-0 series win against Zimbabwe after the hosts finished day three of the second Test on 220-9.

After the tourists declared at 510-8, Zimbabwe were forced into the follow-on thanks to a career-best five-for from Hasan Ali (5-27).

Zimbabwe managed only 15 runs in 13 overs at one stage of the opening hour as any thoughts of a chase seemed to dissipate.

They did at least offer sterner resistance over the subsequent 30 overs, reaching 132 before being sent in to bat again.

Nauman Ali (5-86) skittled Kevin Kasuza for 22 and Mohammad Rizwan caught Tarisai Musakanda for the loss of just eight runs, as Shaheen Afridi (4-45) also smelled blood.

However, Zimbabwe began to get a grip on proceedings through an admirable stand from Regis Chakabva (80) and captain Brendan Taylor (49).

Taylor in particular seemed to enter short-form mode, swinging for 10 fours from just 31 balls before being removed at 142-3 as Rizwan and Shaheen combined again.

Chakabva was taken at slip by a good catch from Babar Azam, and suddenly the win was in Pakistan's sights, Milton Shumba caught for 16 before consecutive balls from Nauman accounted for Donald Tiripano and Roy Kaia as he reached 300 first-class wickets.

Shaheen bowled Tendai Chisoro for eight and Richard Ngarava for a duck but Luke Jongwe (31 not out) dug deep to keep the contest alive.

As the shadows lengthened in Harare, Pakistan switched to the spin attack but could not find the breakthrough and must return on Monday to finish the job.

 

Red-hot Hasan

Hasan has enjoyed spectacular form since returning to Test cricket this year and made it 24 wickets in five innings as he dismantled the Zimbabwe middle order in the early session.

Although he could not add to his tally as Nauman led the charge in the second innings, this was still a Test to remember.

 

Taylor fights fire with fire

After a first-innings knock of just nine, Taylor opted to attack the bowlers when he came out again, swinging for the boundary with abandon.

His 49 from just 31 balls was an entertaining ray of light for a home side for whom this contest has looked over for some time.

Pakistan strengthened their grip on the second Test against Zimbabwe in Harare after an unbeaten 215 from Abid Ali allowed the tourists to declare on 510-8.

And Zimbabwe were quickly reduced to 52-4 in reply by the end of day two as Pakistan closed on a dominant sweep of the two-match series.

The touring side, who won the opener by an innings and 116 runs, resumed on 268-4 on Saturday and could not be slowed.

It took Zimbabwe 54 balls to remove nightwatchman Sajid Khan (20), installed alongside Abid after a belated flurry of wickets on Friday, although Abid's scoring was only steady as Mohammad Rizwan and Hasan Ali also departed.

The arrival of Nauman Ali at the crease prompted a huge partnership of 169 and the duo looked immovable at the close of the second session.

Nauman was just seven shy of a maiden century, having been out for a duck in the previous match, and this looming milestone appeared to play into the thinking as Pakistan batted again in the evening.

But after Nauman hit the first ball for four, he was stumped from the second and Babar Azam swiftly declared.

That left time for the tourists to chase early wickets in the Zimbabwe innings and veteran Test debutant Tabish Khan found joy inside the second over as he trapped Tarisai Musakanda.

Kevin Kasuza, captain Brendan Taylor and Milton Shumba also departed before the day was out, with Sajid continuing an enjoyable outing with his first Test wicket.

The hosts again face a mountain to climb simply to send Pakistan in to bat for a second time, already with only six wickets remaining and 259 off the follow-on mark of 311.

Making hay in Harare

Abid scored centuries in two of his first three Test innings but had failed to supply a third since coming into this match. His average stood at 37.

Now he has a first double-hundred and a batting average of 49.6. The batsman found an accommodating Zimbabwe attack but capitalised far more effectively than many of his team-mates.

Well worth the wait

Tabish made his first-class debut in 2002-03 but only now, aged 36, has been handed his chance in the Test arena.

Not called into action until the sixth session of the match, he soon made up for lost time with just his sixth delivery, nipping back into Musakanda to set Pakistan on their way.

Abid Ali and Azhar Ali each hit centuries to put Pakistan in control on day one of the second Test in Harare before three late wickets from Blessing Muzarabani hauled Zimbabwe back into the contest.

Opener Abid carried his bat through the day to reach stumps on 118 not out and Azhar struck 126, having combined in a mammoth second-wicket stand of 236.

But after toiling on a sluggish surface for most of the day, Zimbabwe and Muzarabani (3-41) made the second new ball pay, as skipper Babar Azam and Fawad Alam followed Azhar back to the pavilion in short order and Pakistan closed on 268-4.

The hosts could at least reflect on having bookended the day effectively.

Pakistan, who handed a debut to veteran seamer Tabish Khan, batted after Babar won the toss, although Imran Butt scratched around for two runs from 20 deliveries before miscuing a pull at Richard Ngarava (1-35).

Given how Ngarava and Muzarabani impressed in their initial burst and what followed, it appears how each team uses the new ball will be vital on a benign Harare pitch.

Although Abid was the more circumspect throughout, the two centurions picked up the pace after lunch as Zimbabwe's discipline began to wane – Azhar enjoying himself backward of square and through midwicket, while Abid showed lovely timing through the covers.

After Zimbabwe persuaded the umpires to change the ball in the 53rd over, slow left-armer Tendai Chisoro (0-80) dropped short and Abid smashed the ball into Roy Kaia's knee, forcing the short leg from the field after lengthy treatment.

Azhar was the first to three figures off 198 balls, while Abid followed from his 224th delivery before a mini-collapse from 248-1.

Muzarabani drew Azhar into a drive on the up, seeing him pouched at gully by Milton Shumba, before Babar edged to Kevin Kasuza in the cordon and Alam dragged on after struggling under a barrage of short deliveries.

Abid and Azhar set up Pakistan for series win

Abid would not have envisaged being joined by Sajid Khan to see out the day, but he will resume alongside the nightwatchman on Saturday having put questions over his place in the side to bed. The opener had a top score of 26 in his 10 Test innings preceding this tour, meaning he needed to back up a 60 in the initial encounter with something more substantial.

There were no such doubts over the 36-year-old Azhar's credentials, but his century was also a redemptive one after being sacked as captain last November.

Babar fed up of counting his Blessings

Azhar's successor Babar has generally become Pakistan's sure thing across all formats and was in blistering form during the recent white-ball trip to South Africa. Not here, though, as he followed up a first-ball duck in his team's innings victory last time out with another single-figure score.

Muzarabani appears to be a big part of the problem. Since returning to international cricket last year, the seamer has removed Babar on six occasions.

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.

Pakistan will start a two-match series against Zimbabwe on Thursday scenting a great opportunity to secure an elusive Test away win.

Mohammad Rizwan starred as Pakistan won a thrilling Twenty20 series at the start of the tour, the in-form opener moving into the top 10 in the batting rankings as a result of his heroics in a 2-1 triumph.

The tourists whitewashed South Africa 2-0 in their last Test series earlier this year too, yet they have gone 11 games without a victory away from home in the longest format.

You have to go back to the first Test against England at Lord's three years ago for their previous Test win on tour, but Babar Azam's side will be expected to put that right at the Harare Sports Club - where both matches will be played.

Pakistan will have to do without star spinner Yasir Shah, who is absent due to a knee injury, at a venue where they have won four out of six Tests.

Zimbabwe have included the uncapped Luke Jongwe, Richard Ngarava, Roy Kaia, Milton Shumba, and Tanaka Chivanga in a youthful squad.

Sikandar Raza misses out against his country of birth as he receives treatment for a bone marrow infection, while Craig Ervine and Wesley Madhevere are ruled out due to injury.

The outcome was a 1-1 draw the last time Pakistan played a Test series in Zimbabwe eight years ago.

Zimbabwe's only Test series success against Pakistan came back in 1998 and it would be a big surprise if they can repeat that feat against a side needing a whitewash to retain fifth place in the rankings.

Rizwan the man

Rizwan starred in the T20 fixtures between the nations, smashing an unbeaten 91 in the decider after cracking a rapid 82 not out in the opening game.

He was also player of the Test series in the triumph over South Africa, the highlight for the wicketkeeper-batsman being a maiden hundred in the longest format in Rawalpindi to help raise his average to 44.35.

Where there's a Will, there's a way

Zimbabwe will be counting on captain Sean Williams to lead by example with the bat once again. He has averaged 96.2 in seven Test innings since the start of 2020, scoring three centuries in his past five knocks.

Williams was named player of the series against Afghanistan this month, but an unbeaten 151 in the second Test was not enough to prevent his side from having to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Key match facts

- Zimbabwe have only managed to record one multi-game bilateral Test series victory over Pakistan (D1 L5); this will be the first such series between the two nations since 2013, however.

- Zimbabwe ended an eight-match winless streak on home soil against Pakistan when they last faced each other in Tests, doing so by a margin of 24 runs.

- Pakistan come into this match having logged back-to-back Test victories - they have not managed to register three wins on the spin since 2016.

- No side has a lower catching success rate than Pakistan in Tests since 2020 (70 per cent - level with West Indies); only Afghanistan (83 per cent ) and Bangladesh (81 per cent) have held on to a better share of their catching opportunities than Zimbabwe in that time (80 per cent).

- Shaheen Afridi requires two wickets to bring up 50 in Test cricket; he returned figures of 4-51 in his most recent innings (v South Africa, February 2021).

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