Colin de Grandhomme celebrates one of his three wickets with his teammates    Getty Images
Colin de Grandhomme (centre) celebrates one of his three wickets with his teammates Getty Images

Debutant Colin de Grandhomme picked up three top-order wickets on Day Two of the first Test against Pakistan, making it New Zealand s session in Christchurch on Friday. The medium-pace bowling all-rounder of Zimbabwean origin wrecked havoc on the Pakistani batting line-up as the visiting side witnessed a mini-collapse after a steady start. De Grandhomme picked up the wickets of Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Younis Khan to break the back of Pakistan s batting as the tourists crawled to lunch with score reading 4 for 88. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq were in the middle doing the rescue job. They were unbeaten on 15 and 16 respectively. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st Test at Christchurch.

Pakistan openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali made a steady start and added 31 runs for the first wicket after New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and put the opposition into bat on a green-tinged wicket with a wet outfield in the first Test. Day One was completely washed out without a single ball being bowled. Thus, his decision to bowl first was not at all surprising. “It looks like there will be a bit in it initially,” Williamson said at the toss justifying his decision, before adding, “We can see a bit of green grass and hopefully will get good bowling conditions early.”

New Zealand named two debutants Jeet Raval and de Grandhomme in their squad with leg spinner Todd Astle returning to the line up for his second Test after making his debut four years ago. Pakistan captain Misbah said he was confident his batsmen “know how to cope with the seam movement,” even as his side did not get any practice before the first Test. His side s preparation for this Test was less than ideal with their warm-up match washed out. And it soon started showing after that opening stand of 31.

New Zealand bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult had started on a tight note. Southee, in particular, bowled impeccable maidens and controlled things from one end. Boult too bowled a decent spell but wickets did not come until the first bowling change was made by Williamson. The debutant de Grandhomme was given the ball and he immediately delivered. He got a delivery to come in sharply after swinging the previous deliveries away from Azhar Ali, who perhaps was not prepared for it. The ball went on to uproot his off stump. Azhar managed 15.

Young Babar Azam, who impressed one and all during the previous series against West Indies, was sent in at No.3. He soon got a reprieve when Astle, who was standing at Gully, dropped down a chance. In the next over, Aslam (19) was removed by Southee, when southpaw poked at a delivery outside off stump which was further going away from him, thus giving away a simple catch to debutant Raval, who was standing at the second slip.

Babar could not make the most of the life he got and was soon dismissed when he edged one from de Grandhomme to Ross Taylor in the first slip. He could score only 7. Pakistan were in a spot of bother here, but they had their best men Younis Khan and Misbah in the middle. However, the biggest setback they received was when de Grandhomme got the big fish Younis for a mere 2. From 31 without loss, Pakistan were reduced to 56 for 4. Asad Shafiq joined Misbah in the middle and from there on, the two added unbeaten 32 to guide Pakistan to 88 for 4 at lunch.

New Zealand, coming off a 3-0 thumping by India, have lost six of nine Tests so far this year while Pakistan, who have not lost a series in New Zealand since 1985, have won four of seven Tests in 2016.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 88 for 4 (Sami Aslam 19, Asad Shafiq not out 16, Misbah-ul-Haq not out 15; Colin de Grandhomme 3 for 23, Tim Southee 1 for 8) vs New Zealand at lunch on Day 2.