Williams century, bowlers help Zimbabwe trounce Afghanistan inside two days

By: AFP      Published: 10:34 PM, 5 Mar, 2021
Williams century, bowlers help Zimbabwe trounce Afghanistan inside two days

A century from skipper Sean Williams coupled with destructive pace bowling from Blessing Muzarabani and Victor Nyauchi led Zimbabwe to a 10-wicket win over Afghanistan inside two days in the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Williams hit 105 to guide Zimbabwe to 250 all out before Afghanistan -- trailing by 119 -- were bowled out for 135 in their second innings.

That left Zimbabwe to score 17 runs which they made without any loss.

"It was a fantastic team performance. I was really happy with my seam bowlers. Obviously it was a difficult wicket to bat on, but these challenges come in Test cricket," said Williams at the presentation ceremony.

"If we take them head on, we'll succeed. Test cricket can swing in a couple of games. In this game, the senior players came to the party, which is what I want. The younger guys will learn from it."

Afghanistan had been bowled out for 131 in their first innings.

Lanky pacer Muzarabani finished with 2-14 -- and six wickets in the match -- while his new ball partner Nyauchi took 3-30, also getting six in the match.

Afghanistan were facing an innings defeat at 81-7 but opener Ibrahim Zadran fought hard during his 76 -- his second half-century -- and added 48 for the eighth wicket with Amir Hamza who remained 21 not out.

Zadran batted for three hours and hit ten boundaries.

This becomes Afghanistan's third defeat in five Tests since gaining status to play the five-day format in 2017.

"Yesterday we won a good toss but they bowled good lines and our boys played poor shots as well," admitted Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan.

The writing was very much on the wall when Nyauchi had Abdul Malik in the second over for a duck for the batsman's pair on debut.

Nyauchi then dismissed Rahmat Shah (zero) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (four) while Muzarabani had Munir Ahmad (one) and rival skipper Asghar (14) to leave Afghanistan rocking at 47-6.

Nyauchi's previous best of 3-69 was on his debut against Sri Lanka at Harare last year.

Earlier, resuming at 133-5, Zimbabwe added 117 more runs to gain a crucial lead.

Williams, who resumed on 54, lost his overnight partner Ryan Burl for eight but then found an able partner in Regis Chakabva (44) as the duo added 75 for the seventh wicket.

Williams completed his third Test century, and second in successive Tests, soon after lunch with a single to square leg.

But he fell for 105 while flicking spinner Amir Hamza straight to mid-wicket.

Williams had 10 boundaries while Chakabva smashed a six and six fours.

Left-arm spinner Hamza finished with career-best figures of 6-75 -- his second five-for in Tests after his 5-74 against West Indies at Lucknow in 2019.

The second Test starts on March 10, also in Abu Dhabi.