Rahat Ali took two wickets in one over against New Zealand © Getty Images
Rahat Ali took two wickets in one over against New Zealand © Getty Images

By Indrajit Dutta

Nov 12, 2014

New Zealand were 174 for eight against Pakistan at the end of Day 4 of the opening Test at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. They are on the verge of defeat. The Kiwis have been set a mammoth target of 480 to chase and have one day to survive.

The Kiwis had no answer to the Pakistani attack. Rahat Ali bowled very well as he scalped two wickets in one over. Yasir Shah too scalped New Zealand started in an attacking manner but soon fell away right before tea. They lost a cluster of wickets. Ross Taylor fell at the stroke of tea. He was out leg-before to Yasir Shah for 8. Before that skipper Brendon McCullum was leg-before wicket for 39  off the bowling of Yasir Shah. He was rooted to his crease to a delivery that stayed low and plumb.  Tom Latham was out  to Zulfiqar Babar after was caught by Yasir Shah when he top edged as he was sweeping. Zulfiqar Babar bagged two wickets as well.

After  tea Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson did provide some resistance but when Mohammad Hafeez had Williamson stumped  with an arm it opened the floodgates again. Rahat Ali had Jimmy Neesham caught and BJ Watling bowled off successive deliveries.

Hafeez started with a bang in the second session with two fours in the first over. He soon brought up his sixth Test hundred and thereafter Pakistan declared. This was a very fluent knock by Hafeez  He stroked the ball beautifully. To add to this he had been very positive, 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 his  innings.  Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi were particularly guilty of this

Left-arm seamer  Boult started off proceedings for the New Zealanders on Day 4. 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 look certain to go down one nil in  the three-Test series. Nothing short of a miracle now can save the Kiwis in this Test.

Pakistan 566 for 3 decl. (Ahmed Shehzad 176, Younis Khan 100*; Corey Anderson 2 for 68) &  175 for 2 decl. (Mohammad Hafeez 100*, Azhar Ali 23; Ish Sodhi 2 for 66) lead New Zealand 262  (Tom Latham 103, Corey Anderson 48; Rahat Ali 4 for 22)& 174 for 8 (Brendon McCullum39; Zulfiqar Babar 2 for 30) by 306 runs.

Full Scorecard

Photo Gallery

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