ISLAMABAD - Batting maestro Younus Khan and bowling wizard Saeed Ajmal help Pakistan win the first Test against Zimbabwe against all the odds.
Pakistan were down and out from the first Test for almost four days, after getting out cheaply in the first innings and conceding 77 runs first innings lead. Things were looking gloomy for the green caps and it looked highly unlikely they could make a comeback in the match.
Second innings also not started well for the tourists as Khurrum Manzoor and M Hafeez once again fell cheaply. It was all left on experienced Younus to steady the ship and he lived up to the expectations with his unblemished masterful unbeaten knock of double hundred.
It was a treat to watch Younus batting with full authority and putting all the bowlers to sword and this timely innings not only paved way for Pakistan win but also shut the mouths of his critics. Pakistan batting heavily relies on the shoulders of Younus and Misbah-ul-Haq. If these two are not in the side, then it would be almost impossible for the team to even cross the 200 mark in Tests or even ODIs.
Once again some questions arise in everyone's mind about the selection criteria. Khurrum Manzoor is a complete misfit even in T/20s but reasons best known to the PCB and their selection committee, Khurrum was picked for the Test squad from nowhere. His performances even in the domestic circuit were not too convincing but he managed to book a ticket in the squad and was also included in the playing XI. This was probably the joke of the year. How could a player like Khurrum, who is known for short temperament and not suited to Test format, was given nod over much deserving players like Umar Amin, who has played exceptionally well in the T-20s, but was not even considered for the Test matches.
Hafeez, now in his last four Test matches eight innings had scored around 60 plus runs in total. Instead of manipulating things in his favour and lobbying for becoming skipper of ODIs and Test matches, Hafeez must first improve his performance with willow and leather.
Asad Shaifque also disappointed with the bat so did Azhar Ali; with these poor and below par performances, it would be almost impossible for the green caps to even expect winning matches against lowly sides, thinking about beating the likes of mighty South Africans or Sri Lankans, who are waiting in the wings to face green caps in the UAE grounds, is a far cry.
Pakistani team is in desperate need of a quality opener, who could streamline things and provide much needed depth in opening department. Selectors had missed a simple trick by not even considering Umer Amin for this series, team is struggling since long to find a suitable opening batsmen. Hafeez is totally out of form, how long team would rely on Younus and Saeed to win matches for them.
Saeed bowled his heart out in the match and claimed 11 wickets, it was his magical and almost unplayable bowling, which helped Pakistan to restrict Zimbabwe to less than 100 runs lead, otherwise things could have turned worst for them.
Fast bowling department also looked pretty ordinary with the exception of few good nasty rising deliveries bowled by young speedster Junaid Khan but Rahat Ali failed miserably in leaving any impact on the match. The second Test is round the corner and green caps must have to overcome their flaws and that too in a quick time. It was the exceptional performances of Younus and Saeed which helped Pakistan to stage a remarkable comeback, but Zimbabwean batsmen’s inexperience and lack of Test cricket also led to their downfall. But they are fully capable of staging a comeback and could pose serious threats to green caps in the second and last Test to be played at same venue.