• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Amir Hamza picks up last two wickets to end with career-best figures of 6 for 75

Mar 3, 2021

InningsZimbabwe 250 (Williams 105, Chakabva 44, Raza 43,Hamza 6-75) lead Afghanistan 131 (Zazai 37, Muzarabani 4-48) by 119 runs
Sean Williams scored his third Test century – second in successive Tests and second as captain – as Zimbabwe ended on 250 to lead by 119 runs in Abu Dhabi against Afghanistan. Williams reached the milestone 15 minutes after lunch with a single to square leg off the 169th ball he faced, but faced five more deliveries before flicking Amir Hamza straight to midwicket to end a fine knock. Williams now averages 80.5 as Zimbabwe Test captain.
Though Afghanistan have fallen behind, after managing just 131 runs in the first innings, they would be pleased with their progress on the second morning. Left-arm spinner Hamza finished with career-best figures of 6 for 75 – his second five-for in Tests – and ended the Zimbabwe innings with two wickets in his 25th over. After being gifted Williams’ wicket with the first ball, he bowled Victor Nyauchi, who played down the wrong line to a ball that went straight on to hit the top of off stump.
Earlier, Zimbabwe took their lead past 100 runs on a productive second morning. The advantage has been built by Williams, who shared a 75-run seventh-wicket stand with Regis Chakabva to dominate the first session on the day, the two scoring runs that could prove to be the difference between the two sides in the end analysis.
Afghanistan had success at the start and end of the session, and their spinners asked questions of Zimbabwe’s batsmen, but did not tie them down as much as they would have liked to. Zimbabwe scored 104 runs in the session in 28 overs, with Chakabva leading their proactive approach.
He found himself at the crease in the second over of the day after Ibrahim Zadran had Ryan Burl lbw, without the batsman having added to his overnight 8. Zadran’s over ended with back-to-back boundaries as Chakabva pulled a short ball and then inside-edged one past the wicketkeeper. Zadran only bowled one more over and Chakabva took a third boundary off it, before Afghanistan went to spin from both ends and then welcomed back Yamin Ahmadzai, who left the field late on the first day with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
By that point, Chakabva had also hit the only six of the innings, lofting Hamza over long-on, and had scored 24 runs off the first 34 balls he had faced. Williams had been watchful throughout, before he had the opportunity to drive Ahmadzai through extra cover to start showing his intent. After demonstrating his back-foot play yesterday, Williams transitioned to shot-making off the front foot on the second morning, showing an ability to adapt and keep the runs coming. Ahmadzai thought he had Williams caught behind on 70, and though there seemed to be a sound, umpire Ahmed Shah Pakteen was unmoved.
The Williams-Chakabva partnership reached 50 when Chakabva hit Zahir Khan for two successive fours. The two of them looked comfortable at the crease and were navigating spin fairly well. But with less than 15 minutes to lunch, Khan drew Chakabva forward in an attempt to defend a ball that took the inside-edge on to the pad and to Abdul Malik at short leg.
With only the tail to come, and Williams 14 away from a hundred, he pulled Khan through midwicket to enter the 90s but, three balls later, saw Donald Tiripano depart in similar fashion to Chakabva. He also lunged at a ball he could not get to the pitch of and inside-edged to short leg. Williams was on 92 when he was joined by Blessing Muzarabani, who took the lead over 100 with a heave over square leg. Williams went to lunch on 97, but got to his landmark without much fuss soon after the restart.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent