Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Southee leads NZ charge to have Pakistan on the ropes

MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand: Swing king Tim Southee celebrated his milestone 300th wicket as New Zealand sensed victory over Pakistan at stumps on day four of the first Test on Tuesday.

New Zealand declared their second innings at 180 for five and Pakistan, set an unlikely target of 373, will go into the final day at 71 for three.

Azhar Ali will resume on 34 with Fawad Alam on 21.

The Black Caps need to sweep the two-Test series if they are to be in contention to make the World Test Championship final at Lords in June.

In New Zealand’s second innings, the Pakistan quicks struggled to get any assistance from the fourth-day wicket, but Southee and Trent Boult immediately had the ball dancing to their tune.

Abid Ali fended a rising Boult delivery and was caught behind, while Shan Masood was caught at first slip off Southee and Pakistan were two down for no runs after 14 deliveries.

Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail provided some resistance for 15 overs and 37 runs before Sohail chipped Southee to Mitchell Santner at short cover — making Southee only the third New Zealander, after Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori, to take 300 Test wickets.

But Southee said the landmark delivery was not the one he was looking for.

“I would have loved one to pitch off and nip away and get caught behind,” he said.

“But the surface obviously dictates what you’re trying to achieve and the wicket is obviously a bit slower so those catches in front of the wicket become important.”

Southee said the target now was to extend New Zealand’s 15-match unbeaten streak on home pitches.

“The boys will recover well tonight and turn up with that chance of achieving something special tomorrow.”

For Pakistan, much hinges on Azhar Ali staying at the crease on a deteriorating wicket if they are to avoid defeat.

“Obviously losing three wickets doesn’t help,” said the batsman.

“You’ve seen some balls keep low and it (the pitch) is getting slower so it’s hard to time the ball.

“It will be will be challenging and all we can do is focus on playing the ball on merit as much as we can.”

Southee has two for 15, and Boult one for 24. Neil Wagner, who was thought to have broken one toe while batting on Sunday, but has now been diagnosed with a second broken toe, sent down six overs to have none for four.

Score Board

Pakistan won toss

New Zealand 1st Innings 431 all out (K. Williamson 129; Afridi 4-109)

Pakistan 1st Innings 239 all out (F. Ashraf 91; Jamieson 3-35)

New Zealand 2nd Innings

T. Latham c Abid Ali b Naseem Shah 53

T. Blundell b Abbas 64

*K. Williamson c Rizwan b Naseem Shah 21

R. Taylor not out 12

H. Nicholls c Abbas b Naseem Shah 11

B. Watling run out 5

M. Santner not out 6

Extras (lb2, w1, nb5) 8

Total (5 wickets dec; 45.3 overs) 180

Fall: 1-111 (Blundell), 2-139 (Latham), 3-147 (Williamson), 4-165 (Nicholls), 5-170 (Watling)

Bowling: Afridi 11-0-47-0 (1w), Abbas 11-2-33-1 (1nb), Naseem Shah 12.3-1-55-3 (4nb), Ashraf 4-1-18-0, Yasir Shah 6-0-21-0, Masood 1-0-4-0

Pakistan 2nd Innings

S. Masood c Taylor b Southee 0

Abid Ali c Watling b Boult 0

Azhar Ali not out 34

H. Sohail c Santner b Southee 9

F. Alam not out 21

Extras (b4, lb2, w1) 7

Total (3 wickets; 38 overs) 71

Fall: 1-0 (Abid Ali), 2-0 (Masood), 3-37 (Sohail)

Bowling: Southee 9-5-15-2, Boult 10-4-24-1 (1w), Jamieson 7-6-3-0, Wagner 6-3-4-0, Santner 6-1-19-0

Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Wayne Knights (NZL). TV Umpire: Chris Brown (NZL)

Source: The News

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