New Zealand fight back with late wickets before Lunch

by  Staff •  Published on Tue, Dec 27, 2022,08:26 PM

New Zealand clawed their way back into the Karachi Test with three wickets on the second morning even as Agha Salman held his side together with his sedate half-century that took Pakistan to 377/8 at Lunch. Skipper Tim Southee struck in the opening over to end his counterpart’s mammoth knock but it was a slow-burn as Salman and Nauman Ali put on a half-century stand. Two wickets in successive overs at the stroke of lunch then revived the visitors’ hopes of shutting Pakistan down for a sub-400 score.

An unnecessary poke at a Southee delivery on the fifth stump line cost Babar the double century dream. The Pakistan captain departed without adding anything to his overnight score of 161, on the fourth ball of the session.

Pakistan went into a shell soon after, almost on a blocking spree. While Agha Salman did punish the occasional wide or short ones from the New Zealand bowling attack, Nauman Ali sought to defend everything for the better part of the first hour after opening his account with a single on the sixth ball he faced.

His next scoring shot, in fact, came off the 48th delivery he faced when Nauman went down on one knee to slog-sweep a full ball from Ajaz to deep midwicket. By the drinks break, Pakistan had added only 31 runs to their overnight tally of 317 in 17 overs, of which seven were maidens shared between Ajaz Patel and Michael Bracewell.

Ish Sodhi convinced his captain for a review when an LBW appeal against Salman was turned down on field, but the attempted googly from the spinner was found to be turning just enough to evade the leg-stump. The Pakistan batter went on to complete his fourth Test fifty, off 97 balls, with a drive wide off mid-on.

However, Wagner struck later in the session to break the 54-run partnership. Nauman mistimed his pull when Wagner dropped it short on purpose with two close-in fielders in place, and Bracewell leapt to his left to grab a one-handed stunner at short square leg. Pakistan lost a second wicket close to the Lunch break when Mohammad Wasim Jr attempted a premeditated ramp off Sodhi, who instead dropped it short to induce an edge for the keeper and pick up his first Test scalp in over four years.

Brief scores: Pakistan 377/8 (Babar Azam 161, Agha Salman 54*; Neil Wagner 1-43) vs New Zealand

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