Hamilton Test: Pakistan 235-4, trail NZ by 40 runs
Hamilton: Asad Shafiq and Misbah ul-Haq shared an unbroken partnership of 128 to lift Pakistan to 235-4 at stumps on Saturday’s second day of the first test, 40 behind New Zealand’s total.
Shafiq posted 74, the highest score of the match so far, and Misbah reached 50 as Pakistan ground towards a first innings lead on a day on which only seven wickets fell.
After resuming at 260-7, New Zealand lost its last three wickets for 15 runs in 7.5 overs. Pakistan then slipped to 107-4 before Shafiq, on debut, and Misbah, its captain, stuck
together for more than three hours to put the visitors on top.
Misbah came to the crease first but followed Shafiq to his half century and was the seventh batsman in the match to pass 50. None has yet gone on to make a century and the outcome of the match may turn on their ability to do so here, because the next man in is wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, marking the start of a long tail.
New Zealand varied its attack and used six bowlers, including part-timers Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill, as it tried to break the fifth-wicket stand but struggled on an increasingly docile pitch.
The home side had completed 80 overs by stumps and will be able to take the new ball, with a refeshed bowling attack, first thing Sunday.
Chris Martin, who took 2-67 Saturday and will take the new ball on the third day, said New Zealand had the chance if it bowled well to balance the match.
“Conditions are a lot like where we’ve just come from (a test and one-day series in India,” Martin said.
“We haven’t quite bowled well as a unit here as we did over there. Some guys have bowled okay but there have been a few too many four balls which let them off.
“We’re mindful that these are their last two recognized batsmen, then it’s the keeper and the bowlers. If we can get these two quickly tomorrow, then hopefully we can get parity
or within 30 or 40 runs.”
Pakistan’s innings started poorly when it lost opener Mohammad Hafeez fourth ball but Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali led a recovery, putting on 72 for the second wicket. Left-hander Taufeeq hit 11 fours in his half century but was unable to go on and was out for 56.
Pakistan lost Taufeeq at 103 and Younis Khan (23) and 107 to briefly hand New Zaland the advantage before Misbah and Shafiq consolidated.
Shafiq raised his half century in 130 minutes, from 113 balls with eight fours and Misbah, after a brief flurry before stumps, reached his fifth-successive test 50 in 195 minutes with five fours and a six.