Ish Sodhi's heroics with bat and ball on Day Two of the second Test gave New Zealand the upper hand © Getty Images (File Photo)
Ish Sodhi’s heroics with bat and ball on Day Two of the second Test gave New Zealand the upper hand © Getty Images (File Photo)

Nov 18, 2014

New Zealand finished the Day Two of second Test on a high note as they restricted Pakistan to 34 for two after scoring a competitive 403 in their first innings. Earlier the middle and lower order of Kiwi batting showed resilience as they managed to put up a challenging 403 in the board. The two wickets by the New Zealand spinners put in-form Pakistani batting under some kind of pressure.

Brendon McCullum’s team are 0-1 down in the three-match Test series and having put a 400 plus score in their first innings on a track which is turning a bit, would definitely give them a genuine chance to level the series. Though it will be a challenging job for their bowlers too, as most the Pakistan batsmen are currently in good form. However the way Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig bowled in the later stages of the day’s play, on Tuesday, it will certainly give the visitors some hope. Thanks to the excellent spells by those two Kiwi spinners, both Pakistani openers were back in the pavilion.

The day began poorly for New Zealand. After a tiring Day One, the Pakistan bowlers struck back on the second day morning and removed both overnight batsmen. Tom Latham and Corey Anderson were dismissed by two new ball bowlers, Ehsan Adil and Rahat Ali respectively. Within the first three overs of the day, New Zealand slipped from 243 for three to 245 for five.

Though Adil and Rahat were successful and bowling in good areas, Misbah-ul-Haq introduced Zulfiquar Babar in to the attack in the eighth over of the day. Babar immediately started to trouble the Kiwi batsmen. Misbah soon deployed both Babar and Yasir Shah bowling in tandem. The domination of the Pakistan bowlers reflected in the scoring rate of the visitors’ scoreboard. After the first hour, New Zealand scored only 24 runs and it seemed as if survival at the wicket became their main objective.

New Zealand slipped further soon after the drinks break, as James Neeshem also got out to Yasir. The left-hander, along with BJ Watling, was playing the spinners well and kept the hopes of a score in excess of 400 alive. But a soft dismissal saw  Neesham walking back to the pavilion. Watling, though, kept fighting and remained not out on 18 off 72 balls at lunch. Craig was giving him company. The Kiwis scored only 52 runs in the first session and lost three wickets. It could have been even worse for the visitors, as the Pakistan fielders missed a couple of easy chances.

In the post lunch session, Watling and Craig formed an important 68-run partnership owing to which the visitors were able to get past 350-run mark. Finally, Ahzar Ali broke the partnership by getting the wicket of Watling. It was his second Test wicket. Before this, he had snared the key wicket of Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara.

Quick dismissals of the two set batsmen gave Pakistan a chance to finish New Zealand’s innings quickly, but Tim Southee along with Sodhi held fort and scored some useful runs. Their partnership for the ninth wicket added 39 useful runs. New Zealand were finally bowled out for 403. For Pakistan, Zulfiqar Babar was the most successful bowler. He took four for 137. The Pakistani pacers also were very impressive.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 403 (Tom Latham 137, Brendon McCullum 43; Ehsan Adil 2 for 69, Yasir Shah 2 for 89) lead Pakistan 34 for 2 (Taufeeq Umar 16, Shan Masood 13; Mark Craig 1 for 8, Ish Sodhi 1 for 12) by 371 runs.

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