1st Test New Zealand v Pakistan Day 4: Three late wickets put New Zealand in control
After an enthralling day’s play, Pakistan needed 302 runs to win, at the close day four of the 1st Test, at the Bay Oval, Tauranga, with 7 wickets remaining in their 2nd innings.
Tim Southee put the Kiwis in a dominant position after becoming the third bowler from New Zealand to get to 300 Test wickets.
New Zealand 431 and 180 - 5 dec
Pakistan 239 and 71 - 3
At the Close - Pakistan need 302 runs to win
Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam have put up an unbeaten 34-run stand to stabilize Pakistan's innings.— ICC (@ICC) December 29, 2020
Can the duo help the visitors save the Test tomorrow?#NZvPAK SCORECARD ?? https://t.co/LMlsERb5mp pic.twitter.com/CL9LpAQeQp
Match Report – Salim Parvez - Pakistan hopes fading fast
New Zealand surely have this Test in the bag after claiming three top order Pakistan wickets with the score reaching 71. With another 302 runs to score on the final day, both Azhar Ali (34 not out) and Fawad Alam (21 not out), are fighting for their team as well as their respective careers. There is no denying the fact that Pakistan has been outplayed by their hosts, thus far.
A 192-run first-innings advantage and Neil Wagner’s inspirational 21 overs bowling with a fractured toe were two of the number of positives from day 3 for the Kiwis. On the fourth morning the two openers – Tom Latham and Tom Blundell - could afford to be aggressive as they started their mission to take the game away from Pakistan. On a slow surface with some variable bounce, Kane Williamson, one felt needed to set a fourth innings target of 400 and give his bowlers, a minimum of four full sessions to bowl out the opposition.
The fifty of the innings arrived in the 18th over and Pakistan pace bowlers had conceded 8 boundaries in this period. For the second time in the match, the tourists were lacking in a game plan and incisiveness. Blundell needed 87 balls for his fifty and had hit 7 fours as both openers became a bit more proactive in their approach. By lunch their unfinished stand had progressed to 98, giving New Zealand a healthy 290-run lead, with five sessions remaining in the Test.
In the post lunch session, the opening stand was broken at 111 and both Latham (53) and Blundell (64) had further strengthened their team’s hold on this match. Whilst New Zealand looked for declaration, Pakistan claimed 5 wickets with Naseem Shah ending with 3 for 55, including a prize scalp of Williamson. The teenager shall take heart from it for he had struggled with his rhythm on the first two days.
Faced with a daunting fourth innings target of 373, Pakistan got off to a worst possible start with both openers – Abid Ali and Shan Masood - failing to get off the mark. The pressure of negotiating the new ball with its movement in the air and off the surface, delivered by skilful pace attack, with packed and hungry slip cordon waiting, once gain exposed the deficiencies of batsmen brought up in the sub-continent with low bounce. It is a challenge only a selected number of batsmen from the four Asia countries – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – have had the ability and mental strength to take up.
Haris Sohail, another top order Pakistan batsman, who found the conditions quite daunting and could only muster 9 runs in 69 minutes’ stay at the wicket, was the third wicket to fall at 37 in the 18th over. New Zealand bowlers have given a near-perfect display in this Test match. Haris, spooned a catch to short extra cover off Tim Southee, who with the left-hander’s dismissal, picked up his 300th Test wicket. The 32 year old medium-fast swing bowler was playing in his 76th Test, with his debut back in 2008. Having proven his skill all around the world, he becomes the third Kiwis to reach the milestone after Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori.
New Zealand - Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(wk), Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
Pakistan - Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan(c)(wk), Faheem Ashraf, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah
Start Time: 22:00
Toss: Pakistan won the toss and decided to field
Venue: Bay Oval, Tauranga
Officials: Christopher Gaffaney, Wayne Knights, Christopher Brown, Shaun Haig, Jeffrey Crowe
©Cricket World 2020