Pakistan build slowly with Imran Butt’s fifty


Only 59 runs were scored across the 32 overs, with Abid Ali the man to be dismissed

Lunch Pakistan 162 for 1 (Butt 71*) trail Zimbabwe 176 by 14 runs

Not much happened during the first session, but it still took all of two hours for it to happen anyway. Pakistan retained a vice-like grip over this Test match, but in a session where they might have been expected to storm past Zimbabwe’s meagre 176 and begin building a lead of their own, their intent was conspicuous by its absence.

Only 59 runs were scored across the 32 overs, with Abid Ali the man to be dismissed, but even that scoring rate was an acceleration following a sedate first hour. Until that first drinks break, Pakistan had trudged through 16 overs while adding just 13 to the overnight score; Imran Butt, seven runs away from a half-century overnight, still hadn’t got to that mark. Azhar Ali’s arrival at the crease added some impetus, and towards the close of the session, the visitors finally looked like they were off and away.

Zimbabwe began the day with eight maidens in 14 overs, Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava giving little away. Abid and Butt appeared to take their time settling in, as they had the previous day, but ended up finding themselves in a bit of a bind, unable to up the ante as the overs trickled by. Any thoughts of punishing poor deliveries were put to one side, and when Tendai Chisoro’s left arm spin was introduced, the batsmen retreated ever further into their shell. It appeared to have the opposite effect of the one Pakistan might have desired, with Abid losing his fluency, nicking off to first slip with one of the few drives he attempted. Brendan Taylor juggled with the catch at first slip, but ended up holding on.

It was in the 18th over when that Azhar finally clipped Donald Tiripano off his pads that Pakistan got their first boundary of the day. A second followed after an outside edge landed short of the keeper in the same over, while Butt finally got to his half-century 75 minutes after the day had begun. It wasn’t until close to the end of the session that he’d get his first boundary, dancing down the ground to whack Chisoro over cow corner. By then, the partnership had built and the confidence grown and when lunch was taken, there was, finally an element of fluency to an innings that should surely kick on now.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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