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Taylor returns for second Test
09/09/2013 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter
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BRENDAN Taylor returns to captain Zimbabwe in the second Test with Pakistan in Harare on Tuesday.

Taylor missed the first Test defeat at the same venue to be with his newborn son but he will be back to take the reins from Hamilton Masakadza.

Zimbabwe performed well for most of the first Test last week, earning a first innings lead and they had in effect reduced Pakistan to 90-5 in their second innings before Younus Khan regained the initiative with a double century.

The tourists then skittled Zimbabwe out to clinch a 221-run victory, but the impressive performance means the hosts' selectors have a tricky decision to make on who to drop to make way for Taylor.

It could be that Taylor takes the gloves, though his performances with the bat have been far better when he has not had the additional task of keeping wicket.

Big concern

The second and final match of the series was moved from Bulawayo - reportedly in a bid from cash-strapped Zimbabwe to slash costs - and both sides are worried about the state of the pitch.

The ground staff in Harare have been given just a few days to prepare the pitch, which is expected to take extravagant turn.

That is probably bad news for Zimbabwe. Saeed Ajmal took 11 wickets in the first Test, and the off-spinner can expect an even more helpful pitch in the second Test.

Masakadza said: "It's going to get a lot worse, a lot quicker. It's going to be tough for the groundsman with such a short turnaround and the spinners will definitely come into play much more in the second innings."

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, meanwhile, has urged his side to overcome the problem.

"The pitch is a really big concern for us," he said. "It's going to be tricky but we need to be prepared - especially mentally prepared - and we need to be professional."

The tourists could remain unchanged for the match, though Rahat Ali looks vulnerable - he took 1-105 in the first Test and the extra pace of Wahab Riaz could be an alternative.


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