New Zealand v Pakistan 2nd Test Day 3: Williamson, Nicholls & Mitchell shine as records tumble
Pakistan so let down by its butter fingers to add to its opener Shan Masood’s wretched run with the bat, are facing a heavy defeat in Christchurch.
???? Another fantastic day of Test cricket for New Zealand ??— ICC (@ICC) January 5, 2021
Will they wrap up victory on day four or will we see a fightback from Pakistan? ??#NZvPAK SCORECARD ? https://t.co/eVFtwym5wg pic.twitter.com/8DGPkHg7IP
Several batting records tumbled as Kane Williamson (238) and Henry Nicholls (157) took little mercy to the bowling on 3rd day, thus giving licence to Daryl Mitchell to join the party with a maiden Test hundred, coming in at number seven. An absolute nightmare of a day for Pakistan team and its management, for they are still 354 runs in arrears and two days to survive.
Pakistan bowlers came hard at the New Zealand pair of Williamson and Nicholls in the first session. The second new ball still had shine and it was an overcast morning this presented a chance to restrict the first innings lead to stay in the contest. Nicholls was given another life on 92 when Azhar Ali failed to hold a square cut off Mohammad Abbas. He cover drove the same bowler to bring up his 7th hundred, whilst batting with a strained calf and the partnership nearing 250 and looking ominous for the tourists. On 123 there was another batting milestone for Williamson, as he became the 3rd New Zealanders to reach seven thousand Test runs in his 144th innings, even quicker than both Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting – two of the all-time greats.
The game was being taken away from Pakistan by the batting pair and at the first drinks had taken the score to 343-3. With no breaks to lift their spirits, the tourists had started to look flat and the game was fast slipping out of their hands. There were boundaries being taken at will against all four pacemen. The 300-run stand came with the most elegant on-drive from Williamson off Naseem Shah and he once again looked in full control of the situation. All the more impressive for the wicket was still fairly lively and now he had forced the opposition on the back foot. By lunch Williamson had raced to an imperious 153 to his name whereas Nicholls hobbling but still unbeaten 138 and New Zealand total to 400-3, leading by 103 runs.
The pair continued in the same vein after lunch and another 40 runs had been added to the total when Nicholls departed for 157 (291 balls, 18 fours, 1 six), having batted with considerable discomfort for the last three hours of his innings. There is no shortage of class or courage in this New Zealand team and what a formidable force they have become and led by their batting genius – Williamson – the Blackcaps are on their way to creating a golden period in their country’s history. The 4th wicket stand worth 369 runs has put New Zealand in total control of the Test match.
Williamson was still not finished and simply carried on and found another partner in Daryl Mitchell, to entertain the crowd and show his team’s domination. He reached his fourth Test double-hundred and when finally caught at third man for 238, having batted for just over nine and a half hours, faced 364 balls and hit 28 fours, he walked out to a standing ovation. The sixth wicket stand worth 133 came in good time and Mitchell went on to hit merrily - an unbeaten 102 off 112 balls with 8 fours and a six, until the declaration came at 659-6, with a massive first innings lead of 362.
Another two runs off Mohammad Abbas and all of Pakistan’s five front bowlers would have conceded more than hundred run apiece. An unwanted entry in the record books particularly for slow-left spinner – Zafar Gohar – who not only gave away 158 runs in 32 overs, he also remained wicket-less. It is about time, the bowling coaches over the years employed by PCB, including Mohammad Akram, Azhar Mahmood and Waqar Younis, should be all contracted to work in the academies and not bolster their CVs by travelling with the senior side and having very little impact.
New Zealand capped off a very successful day by removing Masood, who had been strangled so much so that he was scoreless when he was taken at 2nd slip off his 25th ball. A pair in this Test, three ducks in a row and mere 33 runs in the last eight Test innings, Shan will certainly not be in Pakistan’s line-up in the opening Test against South Africa at Karachi on 26th January. Having worked so hard on his technique in the last few years and three back-to-back hundreds to his name, only a year ago, the recent slump must be a morale shattering experience for the 31-year old.
New Zealand - Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(wk), Daryl Mitchell, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Trent Boult
Pakistan - Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan(c)(wk), Faheem Ashraf, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah
Start Time: 22:00
Toss: New Zealand won the toss and decided to field
Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Officials: Christopher Brown, Christopher Gaffaney, Wayne Knights, Shaun Haig, Jeffrey Crowe
© Cricket World 2021