Yasir, Hasan claim five-wicket haul each to put Pakistan in control
ABU DHABI (92 News) – Leg-spinner Yasir Shah and seamer Hasan Ali each clinched five-wicket haul each to put Pakistan in control in the first Test against New Zealand.
Yasir, in particular, looked deadly with his leg-spin, as he claimed four straight wickets in the final session of play. He returned figures of 5/110 in his 37-over spell.
On the other hand, Hasan impressed in the morning session. The pacer completed his fifer by claiming the last Kiwi wicket, though, as he dismissed Trent Boult to cap New Zealand's innings.
Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez remained unbeaten as the hosts ended the day at 37/0 in pursuit of a 176-run target.
The contest was perfectly in balance when New Zealand started the day at 56/1, 18 runs adrift of Pakistan, with Kane Williamson and Jeet Raval at the crease. The duo had weathered the storm in the final session of Day 2 and remained unmoveable even as Mohammad Abbas unleashed rippers the next morning.
They continued to impress till New Zealand tallied a 10-run lead over the hosts until Williamson's off-stump was clipped by what was the delivery of the match from Yasir Shah. The leg-spinner pitched it on the middle stump and turned it a long way to disturb the New Zealand skipper's woodwork.
As soon as Williamson was back in the shed, Pakistan pressed their advantage by bringing Hasan Ali into the attack. The pacer delivered, claiming the scalps of both Raval and Ross Taylor in one over. The hosts were back in the driver's seat, having reduced New Zealand to 108/4 at their adopted fortress.
However, just as Pakistan looked like they were getting away with the match, Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling stepped up and attempted to rewrite the script. They dug in to add 66 runs in 30 overs after lunch, notching up the first wicket-less session of the Test.
Yasir and Bilal Asif continued to bowl well, causing problems for the batsmen on a dry, turning surface. They beat the visitors multiple times, but while they won the battles, the batting duo won the war.
Nicholls and Watling stitched a 112-run partnership between them, furthering New Zealand's lead to 146 with their single-minded effort. They were cautious in their approach but also ensured that the scoreboard kept ticking, as the visitors went into tea with 200 runs on the board with four batsmen back in the hut.
BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls have added 66 runs between lunch and tea to take the Blackcaps to 200/4, leading Pakistan by 126 runs.
Pakistan hit back in the final session, making their intentions clear by taking the second new ball three deliveries after tea. They kept poking and prodding at the well-settled duo, and were ultimately rewarded nine overs later, when Yasir drew Nicholls' edge in the 90th over.
The visitors reviewed the decision, but the ultra-edge showed a huge spike on the big screen after a clean catch from Sarfraz Ahmed, which meant the half-centurion had to walk back to the pavilion. Yasir's next scalp was Colin de Grandhomme, who was trapped LBW after adding just three runs to the total.
New Zealand chose a referral yet again, and once again, three reds on the big screen resulted in the loss of a review. Yasir's third scalp of the session came in the form of Watling, who walked off after notching up his 15th half-century in Test cricket. It all went down a spiral for the visitors thereafter, as they folded for 249 within the next seven overs.
That left Pakistan needing 176 to win, and openers Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez remained unbeaten as the hosts ended the day at 37/0. Imam in particular went on the attack, finishing unbeaten on 25 off 23.
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