New Zealand has grabbed the initiative, taking two late wickets in three overs after Pakistan set a target of 319 to win the second Test. New Zealand has given themselves a good opportunity of winning the second Test in Pakistan by grabbing two wickets for 0 runs in three overs after setting Pakistan 319 to win with a late declaration. New Zealand declared on 5-277 late on Thursday, giving Pakistan a day to win – and they promptly grabbed the initiative, with Tim Southee bowling Abdullah Shafique’s second ball.
New Zealand strike late
When Ish Sodhi bowled nightwatchman Mir Hamza with the penultimate ball of the day, Pakistan was 2-0 after just 2.5 overs, putting the visitors in the psychological lead heading into the final day of their first Test trip to Pakistan in 20 years.
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Pakistan still has a chance, but they must improve on their previous best successful chase of 314 in 1994 when they defeated Australia by one wicket at the same National Stadium. Earlier, after eliminating Pakistan for 408 runs, New Zealand had a 41-run advantage in the first innings.
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The visitors’ winning effort was bolstered by a 127-run partnership between Tom Blundell (74) and Michael Bracewell (74 not out), with Southee making a late declaration after Blundell holed out in the deep looking for fast runs. It was a dramatic day that included questionable judgments from umpires Alex Wharf and Aleem Dar.
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Wharf’s two legs before decisions in favor of leg spinner Abrar Ahmed were successfully challenged, while Dar erred when his caught behind verdict against Henry Nicholls (5) was overruled. When Wharf ruled for the batter and video revealed the ball would have touched the leg stump, Pakistan did not opt for an lbw referral after Tom Latham (62) made his second straight half-century.
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Blundell was also successful in overturning an lbw judgment before scoring and was dropped by wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed just before lunch. Sarfaraz also dropped Bracewell shortly after completing his half-century and failed to stump Daryl Mitchell right before New Zealand declared.
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Latham and Kane Williamson’s (41) century partnership put New Zealand up by 155 runs before Pakistan scored three times in 14 runs. Abrar superbly caught Latham with a wonderful left-handed catch at square leg to end a menacing 114-run stand.
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Abrar eventually had Williamson lbw after wasting two reviews against the former captain before lunch. Hasan Ali took his first wicket in his first Test since July when Nicholls mistimed a pull shot and was caught at mid-off. Latham used sweep strokes to dominate the spinners and smashed 11 boundaries. Babar Azam lost a tough catch at midwicket soon before reaching his 25th half-century.
SINGLE QUICK SINGLE
Devon Conway had been out looking for a golden duck before Latham and Williamson took New Zealand to 1-76 by lunch. Hamza, a left-arm fast bowler, took his first Test wicket in four years when he cleans bowled Conway with the opening delivery, which curved towards the left-hander and smashed the off stump after clipping Conway’s pads. Hamza was wicketless in last week’s drawn first Test after being returned for the first time since 2018.
Williamson and Latham played patiently against speed on a surface that seemed to be ideal for batting, with just the oddball staying low and little turn for the spinners. Sodhi (3-95) ended Pakistan’s first innings when he trapped No.11 Abrar in the first over. Ajaz Patel took 3-88 as Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 23 runs.