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Kiwis back in hunt in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan on 2nd Day of the 1st Test

Trent Boult 4-54 for New Zealand today
©Reuters
 

The opening Test of the series between Pakistan and New Zealand has gone into the second phase after the completion of the two first innings.

On points, the tourists could claim the day for it was through sheer discipline that it restricted Pakistan first innings lead to 74 and by the stumps on the second day, trail by 18 runs with nine second innings wickets in hand. New Zealand fightback rests on the shoulders of its captain Kane Williamson, who is unbeaten on 27.

Match Summary

New Zealand 153 (Kane Williamson 63; Yasir Shah 3-54, Mohammad Abbas 2-13, Haris Sohail 2-11) and 56-1

Pakistan 227 (Babar Azam 62; Trent Boult 4-54)

At the Close - New Zealand trail Pakistan by 18 runs with 9 wickets remaining

Scorecard

Earlier the two overnight Pakistan batsmen – Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail – required considerable luck, to survive the first hour on the 2nd day. Azhar in particular, looked out of sorts and after being dropped, his dismissal did not come as a huge shock. Azhar, the team’s most dependable and consistent batsman, of lately has not been able to play long innings. The team management asked him to open the innings in 2016 which he did quite well until recently he was reverted back to his No.3 slot. It is anyone’s guess whether the shift has upset his preparation or mind-set as he is averaging a mere 17.75 in his last 12 Test innings. At 33, he recently announced his retirement from ODI but hopefully has enough enthusiasm and ambition to follow the example of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, to extend his career for another five years.

Just like last evening, New Zealand once again took two wickets on the same score. Haris’ soft dismissal was followed by Azhar (22 off 95 balls), caught behind brilliantly, with Pakistan score on 91, still 62 adrift of New Zealand first innings. The incoming Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam had added 53 runs together by the lunch time to keep their side, on course to a big total. Happy to grind out, the pair took Pakistan ahead of New Zealand first innings total of 153.

The 32-year left-arm medium pace Neil Wagner, one of number of South African-born players to have chosen to represent New Zealand, bowled a nine-over  spell – on either side of the lunch break – with 4 consecutive maidens.

His tight bowling created opportunities for his fellow bowlers. Part of the New Zealand Test squad since 2012 , he would later return to claim – his 150th Test wicket in 37 games - an over before the new ball was taken after 80 overs.

Trent Boult, bending his back in these trying condition, showed his quality and fully deserved his 4 wickets. He broke the 83-run 5th wicket stand by dismissing Asad for 44, just when the batsmen had looked well entrenched to help Pakistan  secure a  lead, in excess of hundred runs. Boult, called upon for four short sharp spells, troubled all the batsmen as Pakistan line-up in general lacked conviction.

The 30-year old Bombay-born, slow left-arm, Ajaz Patel,  the new Test cap, toiled admirably before claiming a maiden wicket – Sarfraz Ahmed, top-edging a sweep – in his 20th over. He had a 13-over spell in which he claimed 2-39, before he was relieved. With better fielding, they could have made life even more difficult for Pakistan batsmen. Babar reached his 50 off 92 balls and perhaps did not face more bowling whilst batting with tail and was the last wicket to fall for 62. Pakistan tail did not wag today as Boult (4-54) and fellow bowlers dismissed the home team for 227.

Ever since the two captains - Sarfraz Ahmed and Kane Williamson - unveiled ‘Oye Hoye’ sponsored trophy to the media, it has been the talk of the town. The word ‘Oye Hoye’ has potential to outshine any other Urdu expression,  including shahbash (well done) and doosra (the other one or the second one).The expression ‘Oye Hoye’  - equivalent to Oh My God in English - is unique for in cricket it can be used for a near miss, bizzare moment or a brilliant piece of cricket.

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

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