[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 1st test match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe will start on 3rd of September at Harare Sports Club. Both the teams look pretty determined and focused towards the upcoming matches of the longer format. Zimbabwe were good for most part of the ODI series and challenged the formidable Pakistani side. Pakistan, on the other hand, were ordinary in the first game and then came back with their full strength to wrap up the series 2-1. But that is past now, both the teams will take each other as a tough opponent and the game will be considered a new game.
Zimbabwe will mostly rely on the same lot of players with quite a few changes. The major strength however will stay the same for the minnows. Their captain, Brendan Taylor, will be the major stay for them as far as their batting is concerned. He has been amongst the runs not only in the recent ODI series against the green shirts but also in the last most recent test matches.
With a couple of good innings under his belt, Taylor seems to be thriving with confidence and will look to play big innings in the 1st test to stabilize the position of his side. Besides him some other players to name include Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Malcolm Waller, Graeme Cremer and Elton Chigumbura. Chigumbura hasn’t been enjoying the best of forms but he’ll have to spend some time at the wicket and get the momentum back to show what he is capable of. On the bowling front, Kyle Jarvis will be the go to bowler for the captain. Shingi Masakadza, who was disciplined with the ball in the ODIs, will be another choice for Brendan Taylor as far as the pace bowling is concerned. Regardless of what they have at hand, Zimbabwe will have to fight really hard if they have to turn the results in their favor for the upcoming test match.
Pakistanis are full of confidence after winning both the T20 and ODI series and will look to wrap up the Test series as well. A win in the first test will make it most probable for the Pakistanis to go home with yet another winning trophy. Misbah-ul-haq will have to marshal his troops to the best so that they can take over the minnows quite comfortably. With some promising new comers like Shan Masood, Khurram Manzoor, Rahat Ali and Ehsan Adil it’s going to be an interesting match to watch. Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and most importantly Younis Khan will be seen back in action. Faisal Iqbal is also making his comeback to the test squad along with Adnan Akmal. So, there has been a real mixture of young guns and the experienced players for Pakistan. At the top, Mohammad Hafeez is going to be a real star for Pakistan especially after showing his capabilities in the ODI series which included a splendid 136* as well.
With the bowlers like Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan and Abdur Rehman Pakistan is certainly the favorite and it’s really going to be some hard time to face for the Zimbabweans. Wahab Riaz can also make his comeback to test cricket in the 1st test against Zimbabwe and his inclusion will further strengthen the 1st test bowling lineup for Pakistan.