Harare: Pakistani batsman Fawad Alam, who scored a century on Day Two of the ongoing first Test against Zimbabwe, has blamed the slowness of the pitch for the slow batting approach adopted by his team's batsmen.
On Friday, Fawad's fourth Test century gave Pakistan a lead of 198 runs in the first-innings against Zimbabwe in Harare. At the end of Day Two, Pakistan had reached 374/6, but the scoring rate hovered between 2.7 and 2.8. "The batsmen know how the pitch is behaving. You must have seen that the ball. It wasn't coming on to the bat, and the pitch is getting slower with every passing session," ESPNcricinfo quoted Fawad as saying. "The ball was keeping low, but we tried to score as much as we could. They [Zimbabwe] even took the new ball late, and when they did, we scored more freely."
Zimbabwe took the second new ball after 105.1 overs. Pakistan scored 59 runs in the first session in 32 overs and there was a phase when 17 overs went without a boundary at one stage. They got 99 in the second session, and then 113 in the final session.
"Credit should be given to the openers [Imran Butt and Abid Ali], the way they played and laid a solid foundation for the others. They might have scored slowly, but it helped us later on, allowing us to dominate," the left-handed batsman said.
"There was a plan to score 300 today but we were 25 runs behind," he said. "It's mainly because, when both Babar and Azhar got out, the pressure was on us for a while.
"Scoring on slower tracks is always difficult as we have to create gaps to find runs. But it was a good day overall, and we still have three days in hand and tomorrow we want to add as much as we can to give our bowlers enough to attack. I can't say how many, maybe another 50 or 100, but whatever we get we will keep them under pressure and wrap them within it," he added.
Zimbabwe were bowled out for 176 in their first innings and Pakistan have a lead of 198 runs with four wickets in hand.