HARARE - Zimbabwe allowed Pakistan to claw back into the match in the third session of the second Test in Harare after keeping the bowlers at bay for two-thirds of the day. The hosts had survived a treacherous morning session with only the loss of their openers before scoring 100 for 1 in a fruitful afternoon session, but they lost five wickets to the old ball to find themselves in a familiar position.

Junaid Khan provided the first of the five breakthroughs when he had Malcolm Waller caught behind soon after tea, but it was Abdur Rehman who made the crucial breakthrough when he trapped Brendan Taylor lbw while on the sweep. Taylor, who had been dropped at mid-off by Rahat Ali in Rehman's previous over, was a touch unlucky though as the ball hit him marginally outside the line of off stump. But there wasn't much resistance from Elton Chigumbura and Richmond Mutumbami, the last of the recognised batsmen, and Zimbabwe's innings was caught in the downward spiral.

The pitch, which was thought to be underprepared, mostly stayed true on the first day. The final score was much less than what seemed possible at one stage, but with the nature of the pitch still unknown, it could be a good first-innings total.

For Zimbabwe though, apart from Hamilton Masakadza and Taylor, none of the batsmen were able to apply themselves against Pakistan's tenacious bowling. Masakadza and Taylor had come together at the dismissal of Vusi Sibanda with the score on 31, but added 110 runs together to settle the nerves after initial jitters. The century partnership between the two was a story of two halves; first, dominated by Masakadza and second, by Taylor.

In the initial phase, Masakadza looked to score freely while Taylor soaked up the deliveries. Masakadza stayed back against the spinners, but was quick to pounce on anything tossed up, preferring to hit over the infield. One such shot took him to his first half-century against Pakistan. Two overs later, Masakadza punched a quicker one to the cover boundary to bring up the fifty of the partnership, with Taylor scoring only 7.

In the next half though, Taylor assumed the role of the aggressor, announcing his intentions with aerial boundaries off Saeed Ajmal and Rehman. The run-rate hovered around 2.5, but when the opportunities came, Taylor made sure he was ready. He reverse-swept an Ajmal doosra, then creamed a full delivery from Rahat Ali to the cover boundary. As the two batsmen crossed the 100 of the stand, Taylor had taken over the scoring, with 32 runs in the second fifty.

Masakadza, who had gone into a shell in the second session even though he remained solid, was finally dismissed for 75 when he edged a doosra to a diving Mohammad Hafeez at first slip. If Pakistan thought that the wicket was an opening for them to attack the fragile middle-order, they were thwarted for the remainder of the session by some attractive strokeplay from Malcolm Waller.

The second session was in complete contrast from the first session during which only 65 runs were scored. Zimbabwe, after choosing to bat on a fresh pitch, were at sea against the Pakistan fast bowlers in the first hour as the ball darted around. The lost their first wicket off the second delivery of the day and only two runs were scored in the first 40 minutes.

Scoreboard

ZIMBABWE 1ST INNINGS:

T Mawoyo c Adnan b Junaid    0

V Sibanda b Rahat    14

H Masakadza c Hafeez b Ajmal    75

B Taylor lbw b Rehman    51

M Waller c Adnan b Junaid    23

E Chigumbura b Rehman     15

R Mutumbami c Adnan b Junaid    8

P Utseya not out    14

T Panyangara b Rahat    24

T Chatara not out    0

EXTRAS: (b4, lb8, w1)    13

TOTAL: (8 wickets; 90 overs)    237

FOW: 1-0, 2-31, 3-141, 4-172, 5-176, 6-187, 7-203, 8-234

BOWLING: Junaid Khan 25-10-55-3, Rahat Ali 19-7-48-2, Younus Khan 3-0-7-0, Saeed Ajmal 20-5-71-1, Abdur Rehman 21-6-37-2, M Hafeez 2-0-7-0

PAKISTAN: M Hafeez, Khurram Manzoor, Younus Khan, Azhar Ali, Misbahul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal†, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali

TOSS: Zimbabwe

UMPIRES: S Davis (Aus), R Martinesz (SL)

TV UMPIRE: O Chirombe (Zim)

MATCH REFEREE: J Srinath (Ind)