New Zealand are on the brink of winning the first Test against Pakistan and going 1-0 up in 2-Test series    Getty Images
New Zealand are on the brink of winning the first Test against Pakistan and going 1-0 up in 2-Test series Getty Images

Hosts New Zealand are on the verge of winning the first Test against Pakistan at Christchurch. Their bowlers did not take much time to polish off the Pakistani tail on morning of the fourth day of the first Test. They conceded 42 runs for the three wickets that were required, thus setting up a potential win with a meagre target of 105 to chase. In reply, their opener Jeet Raval and skipper Kane Wiliamson took charge of the chase after Tom Latham departed early and guided the team to lunch at the score of 58 for 1, needing just 47 another runs to go 1-0 in the series. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test at Christchurch.

The visitors resumed their second innings on Day Four from the overnight score of 129 for 7, with Sohail Khan and Asad Shafiq walking out to extend the lead of 62 runs. Shafiq, the last of the recognised batsmen, played cautiously while Sohail the tailender played the aggressor and threw caution to the wind.

He continued to play his shots just the way he did on Day Three with the hope of maximising the lead. He had some fun out there with a few lusty blows off the New Zealand bowlers before being removed by Tim Southee for 40 off 39 balls that had 5 fours and a six.

Once again the New Zealand bowlers used the short-pitched strategy to good effect and it paid dividends too. Southee dropped one short and Sohail went for a pull, only to get caught by Colin de Grandhomme at backward square leg. This was a big wicket in context of the game, as Sohail was going hammer and tongs and adding valuable runs to the lead. He scored 40 and bettered his individual highest score of 36 in the process.

He was replaced by Yasir Shah and Pakistan would have hoped that the leg-spinner shall provide some assistance to Shafiq and help him extend the lead. However, just a couple of overs later, Shafiq became another victim of short-pitched stuff. Neil Wagner dished out another short ball and Shafiq pulled it towards deep mid-wicket, where debutant Raval was stationed. He had to cover some ground running in and take a splendid catch. Rahat Ali and Yasir added five more runs to the total before Southee got Rahat and ended Pakistan s innings with a lead of 104.

Trent Boult, Southee and Wagner finished with three wickets each while first innings here Colin de Grandhomme took the remaining one wicket.

In pursuit of 105, Raval and Latham started on a cautious note and had added 19 runs for the first wicket when Mohammad Aamer removed Latham for 9. This was Pakistan s way of giving New Zealand a dose of their own medicine, as Aamer used the short-pitched stuff to good effect. A short ball took Latham by surprise and forced him to surrender his wicket at gully.

Williamson then walked out in the middle to join Raval and the two did not give any chance to the visitors, adding 39 for the second wicket till lunch. Williamson was the aggressor amongst the two as he took just 33 balls for his 31, which had three boundaries too. Raval played a patient partner to him, displaying great commitment. New Zealand are now just 47 away from winning the Test and going 1-0 up in the two-match series. Raval (16 not out) and Williamson (31 not out) are in complete charge and should see the hosts through in post lunch session.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 133 (Misbah-ul-Haq 31; Colin de Grandhomme 6 for 41, Tim Southee 2 for 30, Trent Boult 2 for 39) and 171 (Sohail Khan 40, Azhar Ali 31, Babar Azam 29; Neil Wagner 3 for 34, Trent Boult 3 for 37, Tim Southee 3 for 53) vs New Zealand 200 (Jeet Raval 55, Henry Nicholls 30, Colin de Grandhomme 29; Rahat Ali 4 for 62, Mohammad Aamer 3 for 43, Sohail Khan 3 for 78) and 58/1 (Kane Williamson 31 not out, Jeet Raval 16 not out; Mohammad Aamer 1 for 12) at lunch on Day Four. (New Zealand need 47 more runs to win)