Williamson’s Double Century strengthens Kiwi’s grip on Karachi Test After Day 4:
The penultimate day of the Boxing day Test began with Mohammad Wasim Junior bowling to Kane Williamson. Although the Kiwis had to wait for 17 balls to score their first run of the day, it did not cost them much. Atleast, as of yet. Abrar took the ball from the other end while Ish Sodhi elongated his stay on the crease by leaving no room for mistakes.
The lead was increasing very slowly but 4 wickets were in NZ’s hands and the batters on crease did not look in the mood to end their innings anytime soon. An unfortunate incident happened for Pakistan where they lost their only remaining review in Wasim’s over. With Kane Williamson and Ish Sodhi planning to stick around for as long as possible, the pitch offering no assistance to the bowlers and the Pakistan team now at the mercy of umpires without any review left, the situation became more grave for the hosts. Nauman entered the attack replacing Wasim and his second over saw Pakistan making a loud appeal for LBW, more loud than usual for the on field umpire was now their only hope now. The umpire gave it out but on crease Williamson reviewed it quickly which showed that the ball pitched outside the leg. Williamson was given protection and Pakistan fielders returned disappointed to their positions.
By the end of 153 overs, New Zealand was 31 runs ahead of Pakistan scoring at 3.06 RPO. A missed catch and getting the new ball later, Babar got Mir Hamza to bowl with the shiny new cherry. Soon the visitors ran past 500 runs as well while tolling bells of danger for Babar’s men. The new ball did not make any difference as the pitch was still similarly non-responsive to the pacers as it was earlier. However, the boundaries became a little frequent. Babar Azam bowled and finished the first session of the day with a maiden. The session was unrewarding for Pakistan and was not great for the Southee-led team either but at least they did not suffer any loss which made them dominate the play before lunch. Teams went in with Pakistan’s declined chances of winning.
The game resumed after lunch with Abrar with the ball and Hamza joined him from the other side. Ish Sodhi struck boundaries to speed up his race to 50 while Williamson was still a few runs shy of his 150 runs which came in due course and he became the second batsman of the match to score more than 150 runs, the first being Babar. However, Williamson soon left Babar’s score of 161 behind and became the highest scorer of the match so far. Boundaries came more frequently now and there was no escape for Pakistan with visible signs of frustration on their faces.
Mohammad Wasim Junior was given the ball with Nauman on the other end. By the end of 185 overs, the lead surged upto 150 runs at NZ had 588 runs next to their name. A little ray of hope for Pakistan pierced through the black clouds when Ish Sodhi’s bat took a leading edge and the ball was caught at mid-off as easily as anything by Babar. Pakistan heaved a sigh of relief as Sodhi walked out. In came the captain of the visiting team, Southee while Williamson sat at 184 runs. The Captain departed in the very next over when Shan Masood caught the ball at mid-off. The wickets which denied Pakistan bowlers, even, of their single glance since the start of the day, were now happily coming one after another. Wagner came in next with 8 NZ batters down. Unluckily for him and the Kiwis, what they dreaded the most befell them and Wagner too, departed at 0 off Abrar Ahmed. Abrar completed his 5-wicket haul and Kane Williamson’s double ton now looked more improbable. Ajaz Patel came in as the last batter and Williamson became more vigilant. He kept the strike mostly to himself. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to halt him from scoring yet another double hundred against Pakistan, Williamson slowly reached it and surpassed Brendon McCullum to become the 1st NZ batter to have 5 double tons in his pocket. Claps from the stands and from the players on the field congratulated the 32 year old for his brilliant knock and just then Southee signaled his warriors to return back, thus declaring the innings at 612 runs with a lead of 174 runs. Teams went in and came out after the Tea break to start the 3rd session with Pakistan batters with pads on this time.
PAKISTAN’S 2ND INNINGS:
Abdullah Shafique and Imam ul Haq came to open Pakistan’s second innings. Tim Southee came to see the start of the play from his side and Ajaz Patel coupled him from the other end. Southee left soon and Bracewell came to bowl. Spinners from both ends on a pitch like this was the only option to survive. Both Pakistan openers started off slowly with RR reaching as low as 1.77 at one point. However, Imam decided to speed up things a little by hitting a boundary every now and then. Southee made a return while Bracewell stayed. Michael Bracewell, however, was soon rewarded after Abdullah yet again decided to gift his wicket to the visitors. Abdullah jumped down the track and looked to hit the ball and smash the ball across the line. In this attempt he failed to middle the bat properly and substitute Glen Phillips happily took the catch while standing at mid-on. Abdullah went back while Pakistan fans in the stands were still trying to decipher the need for playing such a shot. Shan Masood came in at 3 and more than anything Pakistan wanted him to last till the end of the day’s play. Ish Sodhi and Bracewell bowled to Pakistan who were batting at a slow run rate of 2. Sodhi made Shan struggle a little and in just a matter of few overs Pakistan saw Shan returning back as well. Ish Sodhi thumped Masood’s pad and Aleem Dar raised his finger following an enthusiastic appeal. Both Pakistan batters decided to review it and Umpire’s call was what replayed showed which added more to Pakistan’s misery. Review was retained but Shan had to go back. Pakistan were 2 down and things did not look pleasing. Nauman Ali, as the night watchman, came in instead of Babar. The Kiwis bowlers were wishing to get his timber before seeing the sun set and so all of the fielders in condron came in. Nauman hit a brave four and after a ball the bails were flicked off the stumps to mark the end of the day.
A successful day for New Zealand both with the bat and the ball ended. Pakistan, who have not won even a single Test match at home this year, have bottled up the majority of their chances to win this game as well. A draw is probable on the fifth day, even tourists can be seen winning it as well. Anyhow, the game has now progressed to the final day for the result. Whatever the end will be, will be decided tomorrow, the second last day of the year, the year which has not been very kind to the Pakistan team.