Great team work from Pakistan on 1st Day of 1st Test against New Zealand
Having chosen to bat first New Zealand were all out for 153 in just 66.3 overs, before tea, on the opening day of the three-Test series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. It is lowest first innings total at this venue in UAE, which today provided the slow bowlers with grip from the opening session.
New Zealand 153 (Kane Williamson 63; Yasir Shah 3-54, Mohammad Abbas 2-13, Haris Sohail 2-11)
Pakistan 59 - 2 (23.0 overs)
At the Close - Pakistan trail New Zealand by 94 runs with 8 wickets remaining
The presence of Mohammed Hafeez and Haris Sohail, as two part-time spin bowling options, was a further confirmation of Pakistan truly having moved away from Misbah-ul-Haq, for on occasions the former captain, was a touch rigid by banking entirely on long spells bowled by four front-line bowlers. The present captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, juggling quite brilliantly with his bowlers and snapping up four catches behind the stumps, would be quite chuffed with the day’s play.
Quite early on the Kiwis were in trouble at 39-3 before captain Kane Williamson, restored some order, with his usual classy batting. He had looked good for a long stint today – but was out pulling a harmless delivery from Hasan Ali. Surprisingly Pakistan resisted the temptation to give Shaheen Afridi a Test cap and another young paceman, Mir Hamza too was left out, and,instead, Hasan Ali was drafted into the playing eleven.. Hasan, with his skiddy pace and ‘in-your-face’ presence, has a reputation of making things happen. His knack of taking wicket when most needed – in both white and red ball formats – makes him a very handy cricketer to call upon. In the middle session, with a hint of reverse swing on offer, he accounted for Williamson and Colin de Grandhomme (leg-before) within two balls to leave New Zealand six down for 128.
Although a batting wicket worth 250+ runs, the ball has turned for Pakistan spinners. Yasir Shah, the ace leg-spinner, now with facial growth, perhaps due to the recent loss of his mother, was given an eleven-over spell before lunch – extended on Friday in this part of the world. Having Taylor, caught behind of a leg-break for just 2, certainly lifted his confidence no end and he finished with 3-54 of 16.3 overs. He truly has been an outstanding success in UAE – Pakistan’s adopted home - ever since his Test debut in 2014.
With Mohammad Abbas, his usual miserly self with 2-13 of 12 overs and presently averaging even better than the legendary Sydney Barnes (16.43), his cautious opponents, were well and truly on the back foot. Abbas was not required to bowl much, after breaking the 72-run wicket stand for the 4th wicket between top-scorer Williamson (63) and Henry Nicholls (28). Haris, chipped in with two wickets with his slow left-arm in the phase when 7 wickets fell for just 42 runs in 22.2 overs as New Zealand middle and lower order failed miserably in their quest for a respectable first inning total. After losing openers Imam-ul-Haq and Hafeez, both on 27, Pakistan progressed to 59 for 2 at close, 94 runs behind New Zealand with 8 wickets in hand.
Pakistan - Mohammad Hafeez, Imam ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali
New Zealand - Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult
© Cricket World 2018