Zimbabwe Wary Of Afghanistan Backlash In Second Test

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE national cricket team bowling coach Douglas Hondo has warned his side not to write off Afghanistan, despite winning the first Test by 10 wickets inside two days as the two nations prepare for the second and final test which begins on Wednesday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Zimbabwe completely dominated the inaugural Test between the two sides with captain Sean Williams leading from the front with a brilliant century while the bowling duo of Blessing Muzarabani and Victor Nyauchi terrorised the Afghanistan batsman with their accuracy.

Despite the ruthless manner in which they blew away their opponents in the first match, Hondo insisted that Afghanistan are still capable of coming with all guns blazing in the remaining Test and the three match T20 International series.

“We expect the opposition to have done more homework than us. So we need to step it up in our preparations on how we are going to end up overcoming whatever challenges they bring in the second Test. We are preparing for all eventualities,” Hondo said on Saturday.

Hondo, who has been credited for the team’s improvement as a bowling unit in recent matches said he was happy with last week’s superb bowling performance, paying special tribute to the seam bowling duo Muzarabani and Nyauchi.

“It was really nice to see Victor (Nyauchi) and Blessing (Muzarabani) take their first wickets in Test cricket. It goes to show how hard work pays off in the long run.  And also with the support of Donny (Donald Tiripano) the senior bowler it was a really solid bowling performance,” he said.

The three fast bowlers took 16 wickets among themselves in the first Test with Nyauchi and Blessing Muzarabani claiming six wickets each in the match while Tiripano contributed five scalps, justifying the team selection to go without a specialist spinner.

While the bowlers flourished, the batting department, which was missing stalwarts Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine struggled for runs with the exception of Williams who stood out with his match winning knock of 105 runs.

Hondo however expects an improvement in the second match as he believes the players are adapting well to conditions in Abu Dhabi.

“It is second nature for sportsmen to adapt so I think we are adapting well. We had some challenges in Harare and we have come to Abu Dhabi. The conditions are different but we have to adapt as sportsmen. I think the guys are adapting very well,” he said.

Zimbabwe will head into the second Test eyeing what would be their first series victory in 10 years since beating Bangladesh by 130 runs in a one-off Test match in August 2011.