New Zealand Lead By 369
At the conclusion of day 1, New Zealand would surely have heaved a sigh of relief as, for the first time in the series, they ended a day of Test cricket on top. It would prove a lot harder to do so on day 2 as New Zealand lost their last 7 wickets for 160 runs to end on 403, well short of what they looked destined to get when they were 243-3 at the end of day 1.
Starting the day well in command on 243-3, New Zealand lost Corey Anderson in only the second over of the day as he was caught in covers trying to drive Ehsan Adil. Seven deliveries later, Latham, who still hadn’t added to his overnight tally of 137, was out as he edged a full, swinging delivery by Rahat Ali. Less than four overs into day 2, New Zealand were reduced from 243-3 to 245-5.
James Neesham and BJ Watling, both new to the crease, then dropped anchors and put up a 33 run partnership in a period lasting 15 overs before Neesham was caught by Misbah-ul-Haq on 17 off the bowling of Yasir Shah. Mark Craig, New Zealand’s number eight joined Watling at the crease as they proceeded to stonewall against Pakistan’s bowlers. There was little in the way of strokeplay as the two added a dour 68 in 31.1 overs. Pakistan finally managed to break the partnership when Watling was caught at backward point attempting an ill advised cut shot against part timer Azhar Ali.
Watling’s departure, much like Anderson’s, was followed by another quick wicket as Mark Craig too had to return to the pavilion five deliveries and two runs later. This was not to be the end for New Zealand though, as Ish Sodhi and Tim Southee continued adding to their total with ease. Their 39 run partnership for the ninth wicket took New Zealand to within touching distance of 400 before Southee was bowled by a peach by Zulfiqar Babar.
Sodhi continued in his own merry ways as he remained not out on 32 when the final wicket fell with the score on 403.
Pakistan’s new look opening pair of Shan Masood and Taufeeq Umar started cautiously as they preferred survival over quick runs. Only two boundaries were scored in the first ten overs, both by Taufeeq Umar. Masood’s visibly uncomfortable stay at the crease ended in the 15th over, with the score on 28, when he completely misread an Ish Sodhi delivery that turned sharply from outside off stump. Pakistan opted not to take the nightwatchman as Azhar Ali strode out to the middle following Masood’s dismissal. Two overs later, his partner Taufeeq Umar was also gone as Watling stumped him off Mark Craig’s bowling. Pakistan ended the day on 34-2.
With three days to go, Pakistan will have to play some of their best cricket of the season to force a positive result from this point. New Zealand lead by 369 and Pakistan’s openers are already back in the pavilion. Can Pakistan make the most of the flat Dubai track on day 3?