Pakistan lose two after New Zealand post big total

by Staff  •  Last updated on Tue, Jan 3, 2023, 

Pakistan lost Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood cheaply © AFP
Pakistan lost Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood cheaply © AFP

New Zealand’s tail wagged splendidly after Tom Blundell’s 51 helped arrest a slide. A 104-run stand for the last wicket between Matt Henry and Ajaz Patel then tilted the balance firmly towards the visitors. After starring with the bat, Henry and Ajaz were the wicket-takers as well, with the former having Abdullah Shafique pulling down to deep square leg. Ajaz, after being hit for three boundaries by Shan Masood, then had the last laugh, having him caught at point as New Zealand remained on top at the end of the second session.

It had been set up with the bat earlier in the day. After Blundell lost his overnight partner, Ish Sodhi early to Naseem Shah, he had some support from skipper Tim Southee who put on 31 with him and helped him get to an eighth Test fifty.The duo arrested the slide briefly with their partnership, but a double blow sunk New Zealand further. Blundell, against the run of play, copped a grubber from Abrar Ahmed and was bowled for 51. Abrar struck once again in the next over, having Southee overbalancing to have him stumped. It pushed Abrar to the top of the list amongst leading wicket-takers for Pakistan in their first four Tests as he got his 26th.

Pakistan’s hopes of wrapping up New Zealand’s innings within 350 though was short-lived as the last-wicket pair of Matt Henry and Ajaz Patel swung away in a boundary-filled partnership.

Henry’s assault began by taking on Hassan Ali who was hit for three boundaries – drilled through cover, lofted over mid-off and pulled over square leg – off consecutive balls. Meanwhile Ajaz Patel proved to be competent enough to hang in initially, getting off the mark only off the 15h ball he faced but soon grew in confidence to hit Abrar for a boundary. Henry managed to pocket another six by smashing Naseem Shah over midwicket as the duo took New Zealand past 400, which had seemed a long way out when they lost Sodhi on 309.

Henry brought up his third Test fifty off just 42 balls, Ajaz registered his highest Test score and the duo saw off 113 balls, denying Pakistan even during the extra thirty minutes on the first morning.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 449 (Devon Conway 122, Tom Latham 71, Matt Henry 68*, Tom Blundell 51; Abrar Ahmed 4-149) lead Pakistan 62/2 by 387 runs

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