ABU DHABI: New Zealand, trailing by 74 runs in the first innings, were 56-1 at close on the second day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Skipper Kane Williamson was batting on 27 and with him opener Jeet Raval on 26 not out as New Zealand still trail by 18 runs with nine second innings wickets intact.
Pakistan, resuming at 59-2, were dismissed for 227 in reply to New Zealand’s first innings score of 153. Babar Azam top-scored with 63.
Trent Boult finished with 4-54 while debutant spinner Ajaz Patel and medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme took two wickets apiece.
At lunch, Pakistan were 144-4 with Asad Shafiq (25) and Babar Azam (24) at the crease, trailing New Zealand’s first innings total of 153 by just nine runs.
Pakistan looked like running away with the game again after lunch, having moved into the lead, with Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq striking up the biggest partnership of the match. Neil Wagner bowled with characteristic discipline, at one point bowling four consecutive maidens. However, it was Boult again who penetrated Shafiq’s defences. A lovely late inswinger caught the batsman with his feet trapped in the crease, and all Shafiq could do was drag it back into his off stump. As has been the case all game, one wicket foreshadowed more.
The two added 53 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket stand to bolster Pakistan’s bid for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Sarfraz Ahmed played an ill-advised sweep into the hands of square leg to give Patel his first wicket, while Bilal Asif was caught out of his crease soon after, and departed thanks to nifty glovework by Watling. Wagner himself found just reward before tea was called, the fast bowler inducing Yasir Shah’s outside edge to claim his 150th Test wicket.
The second Test is in Dubai (November 24-28) and third in Abu Dhabi (December 3-7).