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Fawad Alam ton gives Pakistan big lead vs Zimbabwe

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Harare, April 30 (IANS) A superb fourth Test century by Fawad Alam and opener Imran Butt’s career-best 91 helped Pakistan take an imposing 198-run lead against Zimbabwe on the second day of the first Test at the Harare Sports Club on Friday. Pakistan were 374 for six at stumps.

Alam, the left-handed middle-order batsman, was unbeaten on 108 at close as Pakistan converted their overnight 73-run deficit into a resounding 198-run lead.

Alam struck 16 fours in his undefeated 155-ball stay at the wicket and stitched 107 runs for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Rizwan, who scored 45 off 106.

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Pakistan had resumed their innings at 103 for no loss with Abid Ali and Imran at the crease. Abid became Pakistan’s first wicket to fall as he was dismissed by Tendai Chisoro — 12 runs into the day — after scoring 60.

That did not deter Imran, who eyed his maiden half-century after being not out on 43 on Thursday. The 25-year-old right-handed opener, who made his Test debut earlier this year against South Africa, surpassed the 50-run mark for the first time at this level and hit seven fours in his 236-ball vigil.

Former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, the only player from the side which last toured Zimbabwe for Tests in 2013, made 36 from 70 balls and forged a 61-run partnership with Imran. He fell to Donald Tiripano, who turned out to be the star bowler for the hosts with three wickets for 89 runs.

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The next wicket stunned the tourists and the cricket world alike as Babar Azam recorded his first first-ball duck in Tests and Pakistan suddenly found themselves three down for 182.

With Zimbabwe bowlers sniffing an opportunity to spark a collapse, the pair of Alam and Rizwan denied any further inroads and staged a partnership that has put Pakistan in a dominating position.

On Saturday, Alam and Hasan Ali, who scored a quick 21 off 18 balls, will resume the proceedings for the tourists.

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Broef scores: Zimbabwe 1st inn 176 in 59.1 overs (Roy Kaia 48, Donald Tiripano 28 not out, Milton Shumba 27; Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-43, Hasan Ali 4-53) vs Pakistan 1st inn 374-6, 120 overs (Fawad Alam 108 not out, Imran Butt 91, Abid Ali 60, Mohammad Rizwan 45, Azhar Ali 36; Donald Tiripano 3-89).

–IANS

akm/kh

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