NZ in charge as Wag­ner, Boult shat­ter Pak­istan

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

CHRISTCHURCH: Neil Wag­ner and Trent Boult left Pak­istan’s sec­ond in­nings in tat­ters yes­ter­day to put New Zealand in sight of a com­pre­hen­sive first Test vic­tory at the end of the third day in Christchurch.

The tourists lost six wick­ets in the final ses­sion at Ha­gley Oval to be 129-7 at stumps, ahead by only 62 runs with two days re­main­ing.

Boult had three for 18 off 15 overs while Wag­ner, who started the wicket spree, had two for 21. “We’ve been out-played so far,” Pak­istan coach Mickey Arthur said, but he re­fused to con­cede de­feat say­ing they would not need many more runs to set up a tight fin­ish.

“We feel that 150-170, we could have a real chance be­cause there’s still enough in the wicket.” Not out for Pak­istan were So­hail Khan on 22 and Asad Shafiq on six with the Test likely to be all over in three play­ing days af­ter the sched­uled first day was washed out.

Un­til Wag­ner struck, Pak­istan were claw­ing their way back into the Test hav­ing started the day on the back foot.

They ripped out the last seven New Zealand wick­ets for only 96 runs and Azhar Ali and Babar Azam were painstak­ingly build­ing their sec­ond in­nings-ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 37 runs in 23 overs.

But, in the sixth over af­ter tea Azam on 29 at­tempted to fend away a Wag­ner ball tar­get­ing his ribs only for it to skim the gloves and wick­et­keeper BJ Watling com­pleted the dis­missal.

It gave Wag­ner his 100th scalp in his 26th Test, mak­ing him the sec­ond-fastest New Zealan­der to claim a cen­tury of wick­ets af­ter Richard Hadlee reached the mark in 25 matches.

You­nis Khan lasted only eight balls be­fore he gloved a Wag­ner bouncer to Watling and Pak­istan had gone from 58-1 to 64-3.

Wag­ner said the short ball was part of New Zealand’s game plan when con­di­tions did not of­fer much swing.

“You’ve got to find a way of cre­at­ing doubt in a batter’s foot­work ... It’s ob­vi­ously about pick­ing the right mo­ments and adapt­ing to the con­di­tions and then you’ve got to ex­e­cute it and lucky it was one of those days it worked.” Pak­istan Cap­tain Misbah-ul-Haq tried to knock Tim Southee out of the at­tack with a four and two off suc­ces­sive balls but he pulled the next delivery to Boult run­ning around the long-leg boundary and he was gone for 13.

An in­spired Boult then bowled Azhar to end the opener’s marathon in­nings in which he faced 173 balls in more than four hours for only 31 runs. Boult, on a roll, bowled Sar­fraz Ahmed for two and had Mo­ham­mad Amir caught for six. Un­til the late col­lapse Pak­istan had been all con­cen­tra­tion with only 44 runs scored in the mid­dle ses­sion to be 50 for one at tea, Colin de Grand­homme, whose first in­nings 6-41 was the best bowl­ing per­for­mance by a New Zealan­der on de­but, made the open­ing break­through in Pak­istan’s sec­ond in­nings when he had Sami As­lam, who faced 57 de­liv­er­ies, out for seven.

Af­ter New Zealand re­sumed the day in a com­mand­ing po­si­tion at 104-3, some im­petu­ous shot-mak­ing saw them all out for 200 as they tried to hurry the score along un­der cloudy skies and a pitch that suited seam bowlers.

Overnight bats­men Jeet Raval and Henry Ni­cholls were gone in the first four overs with Raval un­able to add to his overnight 55 and Ni­cholls adding only one run to be gone for 30.

De Grand­homme, who has rarely been out of the spot­light in his maiden Test, belted a quick­fire 29 that in­cluded six bound­aries while Southee (22) and Wag­ner (21) also plun­dered quick runs in their brief cameos. The New Zealand in­nings folded in 55.5 overs, just four more than Pak­istan’s first in­nings of 133. Ra­hat Ali was the chief de­stroyer for Pak­istan with four for 62 while So­hail Khan and Mo­ham­mad Amir took three wick­ets each. —AFP


HA­GLEY PARK: Pak­istan’s You­nis Khan hits the ball straight to New Zealand’s keeper BJ Watling and is caught dur­ing day three of the first cricket Test match be­tween New Zealand and Pak­istan at Ha­gley Park in Christchurch yes­ter­day.

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