Zulfiaqr Babar took two  wickets in the first session © Getty Images
Zulfiaqr Babar(without headgear) took two wickets in the first session © Getty Images

By Indrajit Dutta

Nov 11, 2014

New Zealand were 81 for three against Pakistan at the end of  the first session on Day 3 of the opening Test on Tuesday at Abu Dhabi. Opener Tom Latham and Corey Anderson  are at the crease on 42 and 13 respectively.

New Zealand were 15 for no loss overnight with skipper Brendon McCullum and Tom Latham at the crease. At the end of the lunch session Pakistan have them on the ropes with their star batsmen McCullum, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor back in the pavilion. McCullum was out for 18, Kane Williamson for three and Taylor for a duck.

McCullum, who looked uncertain during his short stay, fell to the crafty left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar while trying to defend one that was spinning away. He only succeeded in edging the ball to first slip Younis Khan who took a good low catch.

McCullum had survived a few close calls before he Babar ultimately got him out. It was Imran Khan, the pacer, who had caused a few problems for him.  There was one leg-before of an inswinger by Imran which was reviewed but the umpire ruled in McCullum’s favour. Another delivery by the same bowler clipped the pad and missed the stumps by a few inches. He would not survive for long.

Kane Williamson got off the mark with three runs off a well-timed cover drive off Babar. He, unfortunately, for the New Zealand side lasted only a few deliveries. He chopped one onto his stumps off a Rahat Ali yorker. Williamson’s dismissal was a bad blow for his side

Ross Taylor was there for only six deliveries. In his short he never looked as if he would get going. Babar soon put him out of his misery with one more that spun away and this it was Asad Shafiq who took the catch ar second slip.

Misbah ul Haq rung in the changes constantly in the morning. It was only Babar who bowled a long spell. The other end saw changes frequently. Imran Khan bowled a testing four over spell beforehe was taken. Then Rahat Ali was introduced. He immediately had Kane Willliamson playing on for three.

Tom Latham watched from the other was batsmen after batsmen exited the stage. He too his credit played with a lot of determination as he stuck around. He survived two chances– the first one at forward short leg when Babar had him pushing at one which bounced more and another one off Mohammad Hazfeez which spun away and bounced up off wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed’s glove and went to second slip but the fielder could not hold onto it.

In the end it was a stern test for the New Zealand batsmen. The Pakistani bowlers both pacers and spinners had the batsmen in a great deal of discomfort at all times. There were numerous appeals for for leg-before and caught behind at all times. It was truly an acid test for New Zealand.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 566 for 3 decl. (Ahmed Shehzad 176, Younis Khan 100*; Corey Anderson 2 for 68) lead New Zealand 81 for 3( Tom Latham *; Zulfiaqr Babar 2 for 37) by 485 runs.

Catch live blog of the match here

Catch Live Scorecard of Pakistan vs New Zealand, 1st Test here

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(Indrajit Dutta is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is also a published poet and author. His Twitter handle is @duttaindro)