Mohammad Hafeez is batting on © Getty Images
Mohammad Hafeez is batting on 72 © Getty Images

By Indrajit Dutta

Nov 12, 2014

Pakistan were 127 for one  against New Zealand at the end of the first session on Day 4 of the opening Test at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.  Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan are at the crease. Hafeez is 72  and Younis on 26.

Pakistan lead by 431 runs and would be looking to declare shortly after lunch. Pakistan were 15 for no loss overnight with Azhar Ali and Hafeez at the crease on 9 and 5 respectively.

Azhar Ali was the only batsmen to fall. He was out leg-before for 23 to the leg-spinner Ish Sodhi. Azhar’s dismissal brought in the in-form Younis Khan who has made a century in this Test match already. Younis has made four hundreds in the last three Tests matches.

Hafeez brought up his 11th Test half-century. It’s been a fluent knock so far. He’s stroked the ball beautifully. To add to this he’s been very positive throughout the first session, whenever the bad ball came his way he put it away.  Hafeez would be looking to convert this into a hundred. In the first innings he fell four short of well-deserved ton.

The all-rounder employed the drive and the cut a fair bit. It also points to the fact  that he was given room at times. One particular shot of his was a beautiful cover drive of Boult.  Hafeez was often given room throughout the morning session. Both Tim Southee and Trent Boult were guilty of this.

The left-arm seamer  Boult started off proceedings for the New Zealanders. He bowled a consistent line and length although he occasionally gave some width outside the off-stump which Hafeez cashed in on.

Tim Southee was often seen mixing it up. More often than not he bowled outside the off-stump with a few bouncers thrown in. Early on in the morning session almost every over had one bouncer from Southee. One particular bouncer was a steep one that beat the batsman Mohammad Hafeez and the wicketkeeper BJ Watling and crashed into the boundary boards. Southee, however, was guilty of drifting down the leg-side every now and then. He’s done this throughout the Test match.

The leg-spinner Sodhi seemed a little off-colour although he did pick up the wicket of Azhar Ali who missed a straight ball while he was trying to sweep. He, however, did not start well. His first ball was a loose one which Hafeez cover drovefor four. His third one was a full toss. The leg-spinner in fact continued to bowl the occasional bad ball was promptly put away by the batsmen.

New Zealand who have a mountain to climb did try their best to contain the Pakistani line-up. For them though they have to find a way to save this Test match. They’ll need to show a lot of determination to do so.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 566 for 3 decl. (Ahmed Shehzad 176, Younis Khan 100*; Corey Anderson 2 for 68) &  127 for 1 (Mohammad Hafeez 72*, Azhar Ali 23; Ish Sodhi 1 for 47 ) lead New Zealand 262 (Tom Latham 103, Corey Anderson 48; Rahat Ali 4 for 22) by 431 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)