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1st Test New Zealand v Pakistan: Kiwis in strong position on Day 1

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson

New Zealand were in a strong position against Pakistan at the close of play on day one of the 1st Test at the Bay Oval, Tauranga, today


Match Summary

New Zealand 222 - 3 (87)

Pakistan  Still to bat

At the Close - New Zealand are 222 for 3




Match Report - Salim Parvez - An audience with Williamson

New Zealand with 222 -3 (87 overs) on the board and their skipper, Kane Williamson just six short of his 23rd Test hundred, are ahead on points against Pakistan. He had to graft a fighting innings against quality bowling on the absorbing day of Test cricket in the opening contest at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui in South Auckland. The tourists unlucky with a few fielding lapses, had the opportunity to take greater control, at the close of play.

In the absence of Babar Azam, still nursing an injured thumb, the stand-in Pakistan captain, Mohammad Rizwan, opted to bowl first and gave four-man pace attack, the best chance to take advantage on a wicket with green tinge. The 28-year-old wicket-keeper from Peshawar has had full backing from the management and also could not be faulted for showing positive intent by picking five front line bowlers. At times today he seemed stuck between attack-or-defend scenario and would have been grateful for Mohammad Abbas’s control with figures of 21-11-25-0, to keep a lid on the run rate.

With the sun out, the Boxing Day crowd, watched New Zealand make tentative start to their innings, against Shaheen Afridi and Abbas. At the first drinks break, they had crawled to 19-2 after 13 overs with Shaheen having send back both openers in a hostile seven-over spell. Ross Taylor, appearing in a New Zealand record of 438th international appearance, across all three formats, got off the mark with a boundary. He looked in good touch and runs started to come against Pakistan’s change bowlers, who could not keep up with the pressure.  Kane Williamson, with those soft hands of his, survived a sharp chance when he edged Naseem Shah to Shan Masood at second slip on 18. New Zealand finished at lunch on 55-2 with Taylor unbeaten on 25.

With his captain was prepared to take his time, Taylor made sure scoring opportunities didn’t go begging. He brought up his fifty (127 balls) by paddle sweeping Yasir Shah to fine-leg and then would take 13 runs in the spinner’s next over, including a slog-sweep six over mid-wicket, By tea the scoring rate had gone up a notch at 128-2 off 54 overs and both batsmen looking to up the tempo.  

With 70 to his name and the third wicket stand worth    with 120, Taylor was taken at the wicket off an angled delivery from Shaheen, who would remain the only bowler who taste success on day one wicket with 3-55 to his name. The final session belonged to New Zealand as Williamson in partnership with Harvey Nicholls (42) has already added 89 runs for the 4th wicket. Pakistan supporters do not need reminding that Williamson’s last Test innings, a couple of weeks ago, was a career-high 251 and that he must not be allowed any freedom on Day 2.

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


Match Details


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

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