A historic double hundred from Hashmatullah Shahidi left Zimbabwe under a huge Afghanistan total of 545-4 declared in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Zimbabwe were 50 without loss in reply after the second day’s play was taken over once again by Shahidi and Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan, who shared the country’s highest partnership in a Test match.
Shahidi remained not out on 200 while Asghar scored 164.
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch continued to hold up for batsmen but Zimbabwe will still need to score 346 to avoid the follow-on and the prospect of facing Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who is likely to get spin from the third day.
Openers Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza, with 29 and 14 respectively, were at the crease when stumps were drawn, after a day dominated by a 307-run fourth wicket stand between Shahidi and Asghar.
Resuming at 307-7, they added 121 more runs before spinner Sikandar Raza trapped the Afghan skipper leg-before in the second session.
The 307-run stand is the highest-scoring partnership for any wicket by Afghanistan batsmen in six Tests so far, beating the second wicket stand of 139 between Ihsanullah Khan and Rahmat Shah against Ireland in Dehradun in 2019.
Asghar batted for 370 minutes, hitting 14 boundaries and two sixes in his maiden century.
Shahidi, who became the first Afghan player to hit a Test double ton, added another 117 for the fifth wicket with Nasir Jamal who made 55 not out.
In all Shahidi’s monumental innings lasted ten minutes short of ten hours, spiced with 21 boundaries and a six.
Ryan Burl (1-69), Raza (1-79) and Victor Nyauchi (1-102) were Zimbabwe’s wicket takers.
The Kabul Times