Cricket-Pakistan's Abid, Azhar score tons on opening day of Zimbabwe test

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Second Test - England v Pakistan

HARARE (Reuters) - Pakistan's Abid Ali and Azhar Ali struck centuries as the tourists took an early grip on the second test against Zimbabwe, reaching 268-4 at the close on the opening day at the Harare Sports Club on Friday.

The pair set a 236-run record for a second wicket partnership in Harare as they provided Pakistan with a platform for an imposing first innings total in a bid to replicate last week’s convincing first test win.

Opener Abid was unbeaten on 118 and will resume with nightwatchman Sajid Khan on Saturday.

Azhar was dismissed for 126 late in the day after an imposing innings on a slow wicket while Abid survived a dropped catch on 94 before reaching his third test century.

Zimbabwe made an early breakthrough at 12-1, after Pakistan had won the toss and elected to bat, when Imran Butt was caught off Richard Ngarava after mistiming a pull over midwicket.

But the home attack then toiled without any success until taking the second new ball, after which Blessing Muzarabani took three wickets to put the brakes on the tourist’s batting.

Azhar was caught in the gully followed soon after by captain Babar Azam, snagged at cover point for two, and then Fawad Alam (5), who was clean bowled.

Muzarabani finished the day with figures of 3-41 after a last hour fight back that will offer the home side some hope after a difficult day.

Last week, Pakistan won the first of the two-test series, also played at the Harare Sports Club, by an innings and 116 runs.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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