A Dominant Day for Batters as New Zealand Fight back in Karachi:
The sun of day 2 rose and at 10am New Zealand’s 11 and Pakistan’s two batters, Babar Azam and Salman Agha, came out fully armed with their pads and kit. Babar finished yesterday’s game with 161 runs next to his name and every Babar fan would surely have spent the night hoping for him to reach his maiden double ton. Tim Southee, the New Zealand captain, came to bowl the first over of the day and just on his 4th ball, the quick conquered his Pakistani counterpart, Babar’s prized timber. An outside edge was the criminal which gave the glovesman Blundell the opportunity to help his skipper send Babar home. The ball, although, only brushed against the bat but the right hander had to go, without adding anything to his overnight score.
In came, Nauman Ali to take the charge with Salman Agha. Patel joined Southee from the other end. Nauman Ali carried on playing defensively against the New Zealand bowlers, while Salman did the opposite. Run rate at this point was 3.45 per over. Soon, Michael Bracewell was sent to replace Tim Southee and spin was being bowled from both ends. The flow of runs was slow but both batters kept Pakistan steady after the fall of their chevalier, Babar. Run rate fell as both spinners, Ajaz Patel and Bracewell kept on bowling in turns. Salman, however, was trying to keep the RR higher than 3 by hitting occasional fours.
Ish Sodhi was introduced just after drinks and runs were only coming from Agha Salman’s bat while Nauman Ali decided to go into hibernation mode where he kept devotedly blocking the ball. Bracewell continued from the other end and steering slowly but steadily, Salman reached his third fifty in Test matches. A little noise in the ground and the sight of his companion reaching a milestone pushed Nauman to abandon his boycott of scoring runs as well. He decided to go for a pull off newly-introduced Wagner’s short ball but Bracewell standing at square leg got the better of him with a screamer and finally Nauman had to leave. Replacing him Mohammad Wasim Junior came in, but left at the same pace in the next over when Ish Sodhi bowled a shortish wrong one and Wasim tried to scoop it away. However, a tiny edge and a catch by wicket-keeper Blundell ruined his plans, awarding Ish Sodhi his first Timber in four years. Mir Hamza replaced him. Shortly after 2 overs, the call for Lunch was made and both teams went in. The Kiwis were named the dominating side of this session. Although Pakistan could not score much, with Salman on crease and 377 runs still in their bucket there was no need of panicking.
The second session started with Salman slapping a four off Wagner. Salman was trying to get the scores as high as possible and to Pakistan’s glee, he was succeeding at it too. An expensive over by Wagner, where he was hit for three boundaries by Salman, saw Pakistan cross the 400 fence and Salman galloped to 84 runs. Ish Sodhi, in the very next over, LBW trapped Mir Hamza and Umpire raised his finger without giving it a thought. In a similar way, Mir Hamza reviewed the decision but the Replay showed Umpire’s call on impact. Review was retained but Hamza’s wicket was not. The last man Abrar came out while Agha was nearing his century. Knowing Abrar’s mindless and fearless approach while batting, Agha decided not to give him the strike before reaching his century. Agha reached his first ton and the whole dressing room erupted, with the Skipper Babar Azam jumping while clapping and Rizwan whistling to celebrate their last batter standing. Abrar Ahmed hit Tim Southee for a six in the next over and after another over or so, Salman lost his timber too. All of Pakistan’s lineup was ousted and now was the time to give Kiwis the chance to bat.
NEW ZEALAND’S 2ND INNINGS:
Mir Hamza opened the innings for Pakistan with the ball while Tom Latham and Devon Conway came out from the visitor’s camp. Wasim Junior came from the other end and was welcomed with a boundary by Latham. Both pacers continued bowling for 6 more overs and finally the mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed was sent with the ball. Runs were flowing at just a lick above 2 but all wickets were in hand. Mohammad Wasim kept on giving the visitors at least one boundary per over, with which the black caps seemed contended because singles and doubles were hardly noted during the first 10-15 overs of the innings. Conway’s love for straight drives nearly knocked his companion’s timber thrice during the day, however, each time he was saved. Nauman Ali came in to replace Wasim and to everyone’s amusement Babar Azam, himself, took the cherry to bowl before tea as well. The 3rd session ended with Kiwis at 41 without any loss.
Nauman Ali resumed after the tea and Abrar came to complement his spinning companion from the other end. The duo continued throwing the cherry for a long time while the NZ openers took the Run rate to over 3.4, with boundaries whose frequency was increasing from time to time. Fifty came up for Devon Conway to reward him for his steady stay on the crease. In 28th over, Wasim came back in place of Harry Potter, Abrar Ahmed, and New Zealand reached 100 runs. On one of Nauman’s deliveries, Pakistan appealed for a caught behind but the on field umpire did not look interested. Babar and Sarfaraz had a little conflab and decided not to review it. The decision was not very good because replay showed spikes in Ultra edge and a chance was wasted by the hosts.
Finally after 86 balls, Latham reached his 50. Abrar Ahmed and Mir Hamza were brought back with Pakistan growing desperate for wickets now. Two LBW appeals came in the next two overs but were not fruitful. By the end of the 40th over, New Zealand had reached 143 runs and no wickets were taken by Pakistani bowlers. Light meter came out and flood lights were turned on signaling the decrease in light intensity. New Zealand soon reached 150 runs. Babar came to bowl two overs with Abrar on the other end. No wicket fell but stumps, eventually, were knocked off by the umpires which ended the day’s play. New Zealand went back with 165 runs in their pocket, 10 wickets in hand and a deficit of 273 runs only.