Tue, 13 Apr 2021

Afghanistan implode as two-day Test goes to Zimbabwe

03 Mar 2021, 23:44 GMT+10

Zimbabwe 250 (Williams 105, Hamza 6-75) and 17 for 0 beat Afghanistan 131 (Zazai 37, Muzarabani 4-48) and 135 (Zadran 76, Tiripano 3-23) by 10 wickets

Zimbabwe sauntered to a big win over Afghanistan in the first Test meeting between these two sides, which lasted just two days, in Abu Dhabi. After bowling Afghanistan out for scores of 131 and 135, Zimbabwe needed just 17 runs to win and got them unscathed in 3.2 overs in their second innings.

On a surface that was green-tinged to start where there was ample movement to be found and good bounce throughout, scoring was tough but not impossible. Zimbabwe's captain Sean Williams, who brought up his third Test century and second as captain, and 19-year-old Afghan opener Ibrahim Zadran, who top-scored for his team with 76 in the second innings, showed the application required to craft an innings on this pitch. Solid defensive technique was a must and any errors in length could be punished, which they both did.

No other batsmen on either side managed more than 44 runs, with only four Zimbabweans other than Williams getting into double figures and one other Afghan player, Afsar Zazai, making more than 30. Eight Afghan batsmen were dismissed for single figures in their second innings, five of them for ducks. Neither Zimbabwe nor Afghanistan played Test cricket for a year before this and the struggles of their batsmen was as much an illustration of the dearth of long-form cricket as it was an indication of the comparative strength of their bowling styles. Zimbabwe's quicks Victor Nyauchi, Blessing Muzarabani and Donald Tiripano shared 16 of the 20 Afghan wickets among them while left-arm spinner Amir Hamza took a career-best 6 for 75, his second successive five-for in Tests.

Full report to follow...

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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