New Zealand 55-2 at lunch on 1st day of 1st test vs Pakistan

By Associated Press 26 December 2020, 12:00AM

MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — Shaheen Afridi helped Pakistan take advantage of a green pitch, taking two wickets to leave New Zealand 55-2 at lunch Saturday on the first day of the first cricket test.

Shaheen removed both openers, Tom Latham for 4 with the third ball of the innings and Tom Blundell for 5, to give Pakistan the start it needed after winning the toss.

At lunch Shaheen had 2-14 from seven overs. Mohammad Abbas also bowled tightly with the new ball and conceded only four runs from his opening spell of six overs, four of which were maidens.

Captain Kane Williamson and veteran Ross Taylor shared an unbroken 42-run third-wicket partnership before the break that allowed New Zealand to recover a little from the early wickets which left them 13-2. Taylor was 25 not out and Williamson 19 at lunch.

Williamson returned to the New Zealand test side Saturday after missing the second test against the West Indies due to the birth of his first child. He had batted almost two hours by lunch, facing 73 balls and hitting only one boundary in his 19 runs, though his resilience once again was invaluable to New Zealand.

Taylor is playing his 438th international match for New Zealand across all formats to overtake Daniel Vettori (437) as New Zealand’s most-capped player. He played more freely, got off the mark with a boundary and had hit three more by the break.

Shaheen struck in the first over to remove Latham who had edged the first ball of the innings through a gap in the slip field for four. Latham played forward two balls later to a ball outside off stump which bounced more, took the edge and flew to Azhar Ali at third slip.

Blundell batted 47 minutes, facing 29 balls to make 5 in an attempt to restore the New Zealand innings with Williamson. He drove forcefully at a ball from Shaheen in the 11th over which nipped away and flew to Yasir Shah who took a tumbling catch at third slip.

Williamson survived an appeal for a catch behind in the ninth over, pushing ahead of his body at a ball from Shaheen which was taken down the leg side by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan. Pakistan called for a review and replays showed the ball had missed Williamson’s bat and taken the thigh pad on its way to the keeper.

The New Zealand captain also had a let-off just before lunch when he edged a ball from the teenage fast bowler Naseem Shah which just carried to Shan Masood who couldn’t hold a difficult catch at second slip.

Rizwan is leading Pakistan for the first time in the absence of Babar Azam who was due to take up the captaincy on Saturday but has been forced to miss the first test with a broken thumb. Pakistan is also without Shadab Khan and Imam ul-Haq.


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By Associated Press 26 December 2020, 12:00AM

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