Ki­wis fight back in bid to level se­ries

The Star Early Edition - - CRICKET -

DUBAI: Ross Tay­lor hit a re­turn-to­form half-cen­tury to help New Zealand re­cover after Sar­fraz Ahmed’s fight­ing hun­dred for Pak­istan in the sec­ond Test yes­ter­day.

Tay­lor was 77 not out for his 23rd 50 to help his team re­cover from a shaky 79/4 to close the fourth day on 167/6, hav­ing an over­all lead of 177 with four wick­ets in­tact.

Mark Craig (nought) was in Tay­lor’ s company as New Zealand will seek a se­ries-lev­el­ling win in the three-Test se­ries on an in­trigu­ing fi­nal day.

Pak­istan won the first Test by 248 runs in Abu Dhabi last week. Sar­fraz’s 112 led Pak­istan’s fight­back as they man­aged 393 in their first in­nings in re­ply to New Zealand’s 403, con­ced­ing a slen­der 10-run lead.

Pak­istani spin­ners Zul­fiqar Babar (3/60) and Yasir Shah (3/65) had jolted New Zealand but Tay­lor stood firm. Babar re­moved Bren­don McCul­lum (45), Kane Wil­liamson (11) and Jimmy Nee­sham (11) in another dis­play of be­guil­ing left-arm spin on a Dubai sta­dium pitch which is tak­ing no­table turn.

Yasir Shah dis­missed Tom Latham (nine), Corey An­der­son (nought) and BJ Watling (11).

McCul­lum hit six fours in his 62-ball knock and, when on 39 be­came, New Zealand’s sec­ond top Test run-scorer, over­haul­ing Martin Crowe’s 5 444 runs in 77 Tests.

Stephen Flem­ing is first with 7 172 runs in 111 Tests, while McCul­lum now has 5 451 runs in 89 Tests.

Tay­lor added 46 with Jimmy Nee­sham (11) and hit Babar for a bound­ary to com­plete his fifty and then added 41 for the sixth with Watling. He has so far hit 10 fours in his 93-ball knock.

Ear­lier, Pak­istan owed their fight­back to Sar­fraz who hit a bril­liant 112 for his third hun­dred – all scored this year.

He was last man out in the sec­ond over after lunch from McCul­lum, hit­ting 16 fours in a 215-minute stay, his in­nings bal­anc­ing the match after New Zealand looked set for a big lead.

Sar­fraz added a record 81 runs for the 10th wicket stand with Rahat Ali (16 not out).

Sar­fraz hit three fours in one Craig over and then two more off leg-spin­ner Ish Sodhi to come within four runs of his hun­dred.

He then cut seamer Tim Southee to­wards deep point for his 15th bound­ary to com­plete the three­fig­ure mark off 153 balls, the first Pak­istani wick­et­keeper-bats­man to score three hun­dreds in a year.

He ran a full cir­cle in ju­bi­la­tion, thump­ing his bat in the air to warm ap­plause from his team­mates in the dress­ing room.

It was Sar­fraz, 28 overnight, who an­chored the bat­ting after Pak­istan re­sumed the day on 281/6.

Pace­man Tim Southee (3/67) re­moved Yasir Shah in the third over of the day, caught be­hind for two and just two runs later Trent Boult (2/69) trapped Eh­san Adil leg-be­fore for nought, leav­ing Pak­istan in dan­ger of con­ced­ing a big lead.

But Sar­fraz added an in­valu­able 25 for the ninth wicket with Babar (five) and then frus­trated the Ki­wis, then bet­ter­ing the 10th wicket stand record against New Zealand of 65 which Salahud­din Ahmed and Mo­ham­mad Fa­rooq set in Rawalpindi in 1965.

The third and fi­nal Test be­gins in Shar­jah on Wed­nes­day. – Sapa-AFP

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

STAND­ING FIRM: Ross Tay­lor cel­e­brates his half cen­tury dur­ing day four of the sec­ond Test against Pak­istan in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates.

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