Mohammad Hafeez was unbeaten on 123 at the time of the umpires calling for tea © AFP
Mohammad Hafeez was unbeaten on 178 at stumps on Day 1 © AFP

Nov 26, 2014

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That’s it from us at CricketCountry on the first day of the third Test. Do come back tomorrow for live updates of the second day. Good bye!

Pakistan finished on a strong score of 281 for the loss of three wickets, with Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq unbeaten on scores of 178 and 38 respectively. Except for a brief glitch in the second session, where New Zealand managed to take two quick wickets, it was Pakistan all the way on the opening day. Hafeez once again proved his mettle with a superb knock, with a patient contribution from Misbah-ul-Haq providing for a destructive partnership that thwarted the Kiwi bowlers throughout its existence. With Hafeez and Misbah at the crease, the Pakistani camp will rest assured of the fact that their batting has a long way to go, with the likes of Safraz Ahmed yet to appear. In the meantime, New Zealand have a lot of questions to answer, especially with their bowling department. There were a couple of dropped chances and the batsmen were lucky on more than once occasion.
The pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq managed to prevail against the New Zealand bowling attack, putting up a 100-run stand for the fourth-wicket and looking likely to remain unbeaten till the end of the day. The milestone is achieved during the end of the 79th over, with Misbah smashing Sodhi for a straight six a couple of deliveries earlier. Hafeez is unbeaten on 163 from 221 balls, while Misbah has scored 36 runs from 82 balls. The second new ball is due to be taken after the end of the 80th over.
Mohammad Hafeez reaches his 150 by hitting the first couple of deliveries of the 73rd over by Ish Sodhi for consecutive boundaries, Hafeez has been incredible so far in his innings, scoring 20 fours and three sixes in his innings. Misbah-ul-Haq in the meantime, is opening his arms with a few cuts pulls, a few of which result in fours. The partnership is now worth 79, and can touch the century mark by the end of the day. Misbah is later given a fresh lease of life when he is dropped by wicket-keeper BJ Watling off the bowling of Sodhi, which otherwise would have been a fantastic catch.
Hafeez is on fire at the moment, bringing up the 200-run mark for Pakistan pull shot that sends the ball zipping towards the boundary. The next over, Hafeez decides to toy with Mark Craig, smashing him for a six over long-off. Misbah joins the party with a beautiful cut short that sees the ball win a short-lived race with the fielders towards the boundary at deep point. Hafeez is on 140 at the moment. Can he finally score a Test double ton today?
Misbah tries to defend a Southee delivery, but nearly drags it onto his stumps, travelling high over the batsman’s wicket after hitting the ground, and landing just behind the stumps. Its a mix of pace and spin right now, as Southee and Craig are bowling from either ends at the moment. Misbah is taking his time to get the runs flowing, having scored eight from 32 balls.
There have been a couple of scary moments for Pakistan since Younis’ dismissal, with the Kiwis going for a review in the third ball of the 55th over after wicket-keeper BJ Watling was confident that Hafeez had nicked a Vettori delivery down the leg side. The hot-spot and the snickometer do not show anything however, and the umpire’s original decision of not out sticks. The umpires call for lunch at the end of the 57th over, with Hafeez unbeaten on 123.

 

What an eventful couple of overs it has turned out to be. On one hand, Hafeez scores two consecutive fours off the bowling of Mark Craig before picking a single to complete his second consecutive and seventh overall Test century. The Kiwis managed to strike in the very next over however, when Vettori trapped Younis Khan leg-before. Younis, who enjoyed a terrific form during the Test series against Australia, went for the review. It however worked against him as he became the third scalp of the day for New Zealand. It has been a spin-show by the New Zealand attack so far in the game.
OUT! Younis Khan lbw Vettori 5 (13)
It is Mark Craig once again who plays spoilsport for Pakistan, as he removes th dangerous-looking Azhar Ali, who was settled at the crease on a score of 39 from 102 balls. With his dismissal, the 87-run second wicket-partnership comes to an end. Hafeez on the other hand is batting on 77, and is set for a major score on Day 1. New Zealand need to make the most of the dismissal, though Pakistan have a treasure of quality batting left with Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq to walk in after the dismissal.
OUT! Azhar Ali c Taylor b Craig 39 (102)
The partnership is now worth 73 runs, and the Hafeez-Azhar duo looks strong at the moment. New Zealand are desperately looking for options at the moment, with the Pakistani batsmen continuing to ruin Vettori’s return to Test cricket.
Pakistan have breached the 100-run mark, just as Mohammad Hafeez has completed his 11th Test half-century. Both batsmen are currently set at the crease, with Hafeez keeping the boundaries with a constant pace.
After a few quiet overs fetching no more than two-to-three runs reach, Azhar Ali decides to go for the offensive with a huge six, and like the previous big hit, sails over mid-wicket in the 27th over bowled by Craig. Mohammad Hafeez completes the formalities in the over by extracting a boundary off the last delivery of the over, amassing 11 runs off it and making it the most expensive one in the match so far. Ali raced to the 20s in no time at all, while Hafeez is three runs away from his half-century. 82 for one is a decent score at lunch. Lets see where Pakistan head from here.

 

Azhar Ali hits scores his first runs of the match when he punches a Corey Anderson delivery with a straight bat, sending the ball zipping past the mid-off fielder. Hafeez, in the meantime, has reached the 30’s, and looks able enough to score his 11th Test half-century, carrying his form over from the first Test at Abu Dhabi in which he scored 96 and an unbeaten 101. Anderson in the meantime, is keeping the short ones coming for the Pakistanis.
Vettori is handed some rough treatment in the 12 over, when Hafeez smashes him over mid-wicket for the first six of the match. The next couple of overs are dry ones for the hosts, as they fetch three and one run respectively. Southee gets hit for another boundary in the 15th over. The first dismissal of the day is not far however, when Shan Masood attempts to defend a well-flighted delivery on the front foot, but leaves a big gap between the bat and pad, causing the ball to go right through the gate and rattle the stumps.
OUT! Shan Masood b Craig 12 (57)
Daniel Vettori is introduced into the attack in the 10th over, after the last couple of overs pass by without a run being scored. Skipper McCullum is switiching to spin at a very early stage of the Pakistan innings. Vettori’s first over in over two years goes for a maiden.

PAK 19/0 I Overs 5

Pakistan are off to a quick start, with Mohammad Hafeez sending the first ball for a boundary towards third man. Followed by a boundary in the second over as well. The man of the hour however, is Daniel Vettori, who is returning to the New Zealand side after a gap of nearly two and a half years, and also became the New Zealand cricketer with the second-longest career span [17 years and counting]. Hafeez, in the meantime is looking to make a statement with the bat on the first day itself, scoring nearly all the runs by himself.

 


 

Teams:

Pakistan: Shan Masood, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Safraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Talha, Zulfiqar Babar, Rahat Ali.

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Brendon McCullum (c), Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Daniel Vettori, BJ Watling (wk), Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult.

Toss: Pakistan win the toss and elect to bat. For Pakistan, Mohammad Hafeez and Mohammad Talha are in for Taufeeq Umar and Ehsan Adil respectively. New Zealand, on the other hand, are replacing Jimmy Neesham with Daniel Vettori, who will be batting at the no. 6 position.

 

Hello and welcome to CricketCountry’s coverage of the third Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand at Sharjah. I am Amit Banerjee and I will be bringing you the live updates of the match.

According to AFP, Rival captains Misbah-ul Haq and Brendon McCullum will hope to win the toss and enjoy a kick-start to the series-deciding third Test between Pakistan and New Zealand starting in Sharjah on Wednesday.

Pakistan piled up 566-3 in the first Test in Abu Dhabi after winning the toss and then spun out New Zealand twice for a comprehensive 248-run win to take a 1-0 lead. Despite the odds New Zealand staged an impressive comeback in the second Test in Dubai, winning the toss and dictating terms before Pakistan, set a target of 261 on the final day, salvaged a draw to set up an intriguing finale.

Pakistan’s spinners — left armer Zulfiqar Babar (13 wickets in two Tests) and leggie Yasir Shah (11) — will hold the key. But McCullum said his team can take confidence from the improved performance in the second Test.

“We would have loved to have won the second Test,” said McCullum.

“But you have to look at what we have done in Dubai, bank the confidence and head to Sharjah knowing that we have an opportunity to win away from home if we play up a little bit up.”

“It is satisfying to keep the series alive (after the second Test) and it will give us more confidence, we learned a lot from the (last) game and hopefully we can improve more.”

New Zealand may bolster their batting by bringing in in-form Luke Ronchi for Jimmy Neesham who has struggled with just 39 runs in four innings. Pakistan missed Mohammad Hafeez’s all-round skills in the second Test as his off-spin provides them the option of a fifth bowler.

Click here to read preview of the third Test

Squads:

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Ehsan Adil, Haris Sohail, Imran Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Talha, Rahat Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shan Masood, Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Shah, Younis Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Ahmed Shehzad

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Kane Williamson.

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