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Pak vs NZ: Kiwis on top as Pakistan lose both openers for ducks

Pak vs NZ: Kiwis on top as Pakistan lose both openers for ducks
December 29, 2020

MOUNT MAUNGANUI (AFP) - New Zealand were in a commanding position in the first Test Tuesday, after declaring their second innings 372 runs ahead and then taking two quick wickets on day four at Mount Maunganui.

Trent Boult and Tim Southee accounted for openers Abid Ali and Shan Masood without scoring to have Pakistan two down for four runs at tea, still needing 369 runs with four sessions remaining.

The pressure is on New Zealand to sweep the two-Test series if they are to be in contention to make the World Test Championship final at Lords in June.

Although Pakistan are out of the running in the championship they are keen to improve their world ranking of seven, but their cause was not helped when the openers fell in quick succession.

Earlier New Zealand had little problem gathering runs as they pushed the scoring along, with wickets only tumbling in a final dash for runs before they declared at 180 for five, half-an-hour before tea.

Tom Blundell and Tom Latham had New Zealand at 98 without loss at lunch and when they upped the pace after the break the risk-taking proved costly, with Blundell bowled for 64 trying to slog Mohammad Abbas over midwicket.

New Zealand were one for 111, and Blundell's dismissal was the start of a slide that saw five wickets fall for 59 runs.

Latham, who had been keen to pick up ones and twos and run on misfields to keep the scoreboard ticking over, opened up with a textbook cover drive to the boundary to reach his 20th half-century.

He was dismissed soon after for 53 when Pakistan successfully switched to a short-ball attack.

Latham mistimed a pull shot and was caught in the deep, Kane Williamson went for 21 when he top-edged a pull shot to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, and Henry Nicholls was caught at fine leg for 11.

BJ Watling was run out for five, leaving Ross Taylor not out 12 and Mitchell Santner on six at the close.

For Pakistan, Naseem Shah took three for 55.