Pak­istan pair slow NZ mo­men­tum

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

DUBAI: Younus Khan and Azhar Ali fea­tured in a cen­tury-plus stand to prop up Pak­istan but New Zealand claimed three wick­ets in the fi­nal ses­sion yes­ter­day to stay ahead in the sec­ond Test here.

Re­sum­ing on 34/2, Pak­istan en­joyed a smooth morn­ing ses­sion but lost Younus (72) after lunch and Azhar (75) and two other bats­men after tea to fin­ish day two on 281/6.

Sar­fraz Ahmed (28) and Yasir Shah (1) were in the mid­dle at stumps with Pak­istan, who lead the three-match se­ries 1-0, still trail­ing New Zealand by 122 runs with four wick­ets in hand.

After cheaply re­mov­ing Pak­istan’s open­ers late on Tues­day, New Zealand needed early wick­ets to take the up­per hand but were thwarted by Younus and Azhar, who ne­go­ti­ated pace bowlers with aplomb and used their feet ef­fec­tively against spin­ners.

Younus, who turns 37 later this month, was the more ag­gres­sive of the two, hit­ting off-spin­ner Mark Craig for two sixes – one over long on and the other over mid­wicket.

The right-han­der hit the spin­ner for his sixth bound­ary to bring up his 29th test fifty in the fi­nal over be­fore the break.

After dom­i­nat­ing his 113-run third wicket stand with Azhar, Younus was dis­missed by Jimmy Nee­sham, hav­ing ex­tended the red hot form that had pro­duced three cen­turies and a dou­ble hun­dred in his last six Test in­nings.

Azhar took three runs off a Craig de­liv­ery to reg­is­ter his 18th test fifty in 150 balls and pro­vided a glimpse of his ag­gres­sion when he stepped out to hit Craig over long off for a six.

Pak­istan cap­tain Mis­bah-ul-Haq (28) also looked solid at the other end un­til he edged a Trent Boult de­liv­ery to slip. Leg-spin­ner Ish Sodhi ended Azhar’s 322-minute vigil with a de­liv­ery that brushed the bats­man’s pad be­fore hit­ting the stumps.

Boult bowled Asad Shafiq with an in­com­ing de­liv­ery after the bats­man of­fered no shot but, much to Pak­istan’s re­lief, TV re­plays showed the bowler had over­stepped.

Shafiq, then on 21, could not make the most of it though and edged a Tim Southee de­liv­ery to Ross Tay­lor in the slip to de­part on 44 in the day’s penul­ti­mate over. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

CAP­TUR­ING A KIWI: Zul­fiqar Babar, the bowler, and Azhar Ali of Pak­istan cel­e­brate the wicket of New Zealand’s Mark Craig dur­ing day two of the Sec­ond Test at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium in the United Arab Emi­rates.

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