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November 17, 2018

Pakistan hold edge after NZ batting crumbles


November 17, 2018

ABU DHABI: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah led a double-barrelled attack of spin and pace to leave Pakistan sitting comfortably on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand on Friday.

Yasir spearheaded Pakistan’s wicket-taking with 3-54 as New Zealand, who won the toss and batted on a grassless Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch, were bowled out for a below-par 153 in 66.3 overs at the stroke of tea.

The day saw 12 wickets fall as Pakistan closed at 59-2, having lost both their openers, Imam-ul-Haq (six) and Mohammad Hafeez (20), before Haris Sohail and Azhar Ali stopped the rot.

Pakistan need 94 more to take a lead and go one up in the three-match series.Imam was first to go as he edged Colin de Grandhomme’s delivery to the slip while Hafeez miscued a pull straight to short mid-wicket — both caught by Kane Williamson.

New Zealand skipper Williamson, declared fit after missing last Sunday’s third One-day International due to a groin injury, top-scored with 63 before falling softly to medium pacer Hasan Ali, who finished with 2-38.

Hasan removed Williamson with a slower delivery as the New Zealand skipper went for a hook and gloved the ball for wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed’s fourth catch of the innings.Williamson’s 112-ball knock had five boundaries and he added 72 for the fourth wicket with Henry Nicholls who made 28 with four boundaries.

In the same over Hasan trapped De Grandhomme for a first-ball duck before Sohail dismissed Ish Sodhi (four) and BJ Watling (four) — both were trapped leg-before.Mohammad Abbas, who has figures of 2-13, had removed Nicholls, caught behind by Sarfraz soon after lunch.

Pakistan dominated the first session as New Zealand were 81-3 at lunch, with leg-spinner Yasir taking the first of his three wickets in his opening over.Yasir had derailed New Zealand’s progress in the first session with the wickets of opener Tom Latham (13) and Ross Taylor (two) in his first spell.

Latham’s wicket came through sheer containment. Bilal Asif prevented run-scoring in his first spell and Abbas at the other end gave the batsmen no room to breathe either.Latham, who had looked to play some release shots in the previous few overs and done well with them, failed to get to the pitch of a Yasir delivery and flicked a comfortable catch to short midwicket.

Yasir said he changed his strategy.

“I was just trying to bowl a bit slower and with flight,” said Yasir. “I was not getting wickets after coming back from injury so all went well for me.“Now we should build a big lead as, I believe, the pitch was ease out and batting will not be tough.”

New Zealand openers Jeet Raval and Latham survived some anxious moments before pace spearhead Mohammad Abbas had Raval edging to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed after scoring seven.In his fourth over Yasir had Taylor caught behind with a sharp leg-break, leaving New Zealand at 39-3.

New Zealand handed Test debut to 30-year-old left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, leaving out experienced pacer Tim Southee.The second Test is in Dubai (November 24-28) and third in Abu Dhabi (December 3-7).

New Zealand won toss

New Zealand 1st Innings

J Raval c Sarfraz b Abbas 7

T Latham c Hafeez b Yasir 13

*K Williamson c Sarfraz b Hasan 63

R Taylor c Sarfraz b Yasir 2

H Nicholls c Sarfraz b Abbas 28

†B Watling lbw b Haris 10

C de Grandhomme lbw b Hasan 0

I Sodhi lbw b Haris 4

N Wagner c Shafiq b Bilal 12

Ajaz Patel lbw b Yasir 6

T Boult not out 4

Extras (lb 4) 4

Total (all out; 66.3 overs) 153

Fall: 1-20, 2-35, 3-39, 4-111, 5-123, 6-123, 7-128, 8-133, 9-149

Bowling: Abbas 12-7-13-2, Hasan 16-6-38-2, Bilal 13-1-33-1, Yasir 16.3-2-54-3, Haris 8-2-11-2, Hafeez 1-1-0-0

Pakistan 1st Innings

Imam-ul-Haq c Williamson b de Grandhomme 6

Mohammad Hafeez c Williamson b Boult 20

Azhar Ali not out 10

Haris Sohail not out 22

Extras (lb 1) 1

Total (2 wickets; 23 overs) 59

Still to bat: Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, *†Sarfraz Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas

Fall: 1-27, 2-27

Bowling: Boult 6-2-20-1, de Grandhomme 8-4-17-1, Patel 6-2-13-0, Wagner 3-0-8-0

Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (Australia) and Ian Gould (England). TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (Australia). Match referee: Javagal Srinath (India)

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