Confident Pakistan eye series clean sweep

 Confident Pakistan eye series clean sweep
HARARE   -  Babar Azam will look to continue his unbeaten record as Pakistan Test captain when Zimbabwe and Pakistan meet for the second Test on today (Friday) at the Harare Sports Club.

Pakistan won the first Test comprehensively beating Zimbabwe by an innings and 116 runs. Hasan Ali’s nine wickets coupled with Fawad Alam’s knock of 140 helped Pakistan cruise to a comfortable victory. Babar is yet to face defeat as Test captain of Pakistan. With a solid team in place, it will be interesting to see whether Pakistan give a chance to Haris Rauf in the playing XI.

Zimbabwe meanwhile will be hoping for better performance with bat and ball. Apart from the opening pair of Kevin Kasuza and Tarisai Musakanda, none of the Zimbabwe batsmen were able to deal with the Pakistan bowling attack in the second innings of the Test. Their regular captain Sean Williams is expected to return to the fold after missing the missing the first Test because of an injury. He will likely replace one among Tarisai Musakanda and Roy Kaia. 

Pakistan Railways will operate 10 special trains for Eid-ul-Fitr The hosts might also look to give a chance to Luke Jongwe, who had a successful T20I series. In the first Test, Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat. After losing early wickets, Roy Kaia led the recovery allowing them to set a first-innings total of 176. Pakistan rode on knocks of Fawad Alam (140) and Imran Butt (91), enabling them to post a solid first-innings total of426. The visitors wrapped the Zimbabwe second innings for 134 with a sensational bowling display led by Hasan Ali who took a five-for in the second innings.

No significant changes are expected for Pakistan, with Sajid likely to play despite an indifferent debut. Tabish appears to be in the mix, and should he play, Ashraf would be the man to sit out. Prince Masvaure is unlikely to feature following the hand injury he sustained in the first Test, while Sean Williams and Craig Ervine remain ruled out. Wesley Madhevere looks set to play after missing out in the first Test. The weather for the next seven days will be cool with plenty of sunshine. The surface in the first Test played slow, and this one is expected to be no different.

Punjab CM condoles death of Akram Ch's mother Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor said: “Day one’s batting let us down, we got bowled out in two sessions and we were always behind the eight-ball after that. We need to pull our socks very quickly and try to make some adjustments for the next Test. There is no secret if you build pressure, wickets will come. I just wanted to take care of the workload of the pacers and wanted to keep them fresh. We thought the scorecard wasn’t moving, so continued with the old ball. We were sloppy this game as a batting group but we will try to come back stronger.”

SQUADS (PROBABLES)

PAKISTAN: Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (capt), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Hasan Ali, Tabish Khan, Sajid Khan, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi. 

ZIMBABWE: Roy Kaia, Kevin Kasuza, Brendan Taylor (capt), Tarisai Musakanda, Wesley Madhevere, Regis Chakabva (wk), Luke Jongwe, Wellington Masakadza, Donald Tiripano, Blessing Muzarabani, Victor Nyauchi.

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