Ali insists Pakistan 'in reasonably good position'

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Patience and confident shot selection paid off for batsman Azhar Ali, as Pakistan moved to 249 for nine on day one of the first Test against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club.

Patience and confident shot selection paid off for batsman Azhar Ali, as Pakistan moved to 249 for nine on day one of the first Test against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club.

Ali's 78, which spanned all of 263 minutes and 185 deliveries, featuring nine boundaries, was Tuesday's top score. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq and tail-ender Saeed Ajmal, meanwhile, contributed 53 and 49 not out.

Conditions were trying and host captain Hamilton Masakadza, standing in for regular skipper Brendan Taylor, who is on paternity leave, was entirely justified in opting to bowl first after winning the toss.

"It was a hardworking innings on a slow track. I had to work hard for my runs because they bowled in the good areas. And I think we ended up in a reasonably good position," said Azhar.

"With some moisture on the pitch, we had a plan to get through to lunch. But we lost three early wickets which didn't help. We could have done a bit better. I was looking for some runs and they tried to bowl away from me," Azhar said. "I should have kept my cool a little to get the hundred. It would have been nice to get another century."

Just over half of the talented right-hander's Test caps have been accrued away from the sub-continent, with the ongoing advice and wisdom of coach Dav Whatmore admittedly key to the accrual of four centuries and 15 half-tons.

"The coach has really helped me with my technique, especially with teaching me how to handle things in different places we play in. In international cricket, you have to improve day by day, you have to come up with new plans and you have to keep thinking," concluded Ali.

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