Bowlers Help Pakistan Take Charge

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Pakistan vs New Zealand, First Test Day 1 in Abu Dhabi: Bowlers Help Pakistan Take Charge

File image of Azhar Ali. (Getty Images)







Pakistan will bank on their knowledge of the conditions and consistent run in the longest format of the game in recent times as they gear up for the first of three Tests against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi from Friday (November 16).The hosts certainly start as favourites going into the encounter with most of their players showing excellent recent form. They have a potent bowling attack with Mohammad Abbas, who broke Australia’s back with a ten-wicket haul at the same venue last month, leading the pace department. He recently took a 12-for in a first-class game for his side Sui Northern and will have his tail up coming into the first Test.

Apart from the formidable pace unit, Pakistan also have some excellent spinners in the experienced Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif and the ever-reliable Mohammad Hafeez. Asif gave a good account of himself in his debut series against Australia where he picked up nine wickets in the two Tests including a 6/36 in his first game in Dubai. Pakistan will be hoping for a similar show from him come the New Zealand Tests as well.

Pakistan have had a good run in recent times in Tests. They beat Ireland their maiden Test, then shared a two-match Test series in England 1-1, and more recently won the two-Test series against Australia in the UAE 1-0.

Having said that, New Zealand showed plenty of promise in the recently concluded T20I and ODI series and will hope to bring out their A game against the hosts. They have a good record in the UAE having levelled the only Test series they played here back in 2014 1-1. Seven of the players who were a part of the squad back then are still present this time around and will be eager to giving Pakistan a run for their money.

Commentary (Pakistan innings)

The reason for so many wickets falling today is not because the surface has any demons in it, or that it’s unpredictable in nature, but for the simple fact that there’s been a lack of application from the batsmen. The Kiwis suffered as a result, and so did the Pakistan openers. Will more of the same be repeated on Day 2? We will see. Join us for all the action at 1000 local (0600 GMT). See you then!

A riveting day of Test cricket. What was supposed to be a flat deck has produced 12 wickets on Day 1. Through all this, it’s been a good day overall for Pakistan. They first bowled out New Zealand for 153, which is the lowest 1st innings total at this venue. Every Pakistan bowler chipped in with the wickets barring Hafeez. Williamson was the only one who provided any kind of resistance for the Black Caps with a solid 63, but he too, like the others, threw his wicket away. After that, the hosts came out to bat in the last session and lost both their openers. Sohail and Azhar have shored things after that, ensuring no further damage was done.

22.6 A Patel to Sohail, Flighted and full outside off, Sohail presses forward and defends it with gentle hands. That will be Stumps on Day 1! 59/2

22.5 A Patel to Sohail, Loopy full ball on off, turning back in slightly, Haris draws forward and defends. 59/2

22.4 A Patel to H Sohail, Gives this one extra air and serves it very full outside off, Sohail drives it through extra cover for another brace. 59/2

22.3 A Patel to Sohail, Flatter and shorter on off, Haris rocks back and punches it through covers for a couple of runs. 57/2

22.2 A Patel to Ali, Short this time, wide outside off, Ali cuts it with the spin to cover-point where Raval makes a diving stop. A single taken. 55/2

22.1 A Patel to Ali, Beaten! Drifting into the batsman, landing around off and spinning away with extra bounce, Azhar tries defending from the crease but gets beaten. 54/2

Last over of the day…

21.6 N Wagner to H Sohail, FOUR! Just a gentle push and it has gone all the way to the fence. Full and on off, Sohail gives it the straight bat treatment. It finds the sweet spot of his willow and speeds away through mid off for a boundary, beating Raval’s valiant effort. 54/2

21.5 N Wagner to Sohail, Digs in a bouncer, around off, Sohail ducks this time. 50/2

21.4 N Wagner to Sohail, Lands it on a length around off, Sohail covers the line and dead bats it from the crease. 50/2

21.3 N Wagner to Sohail, Bouncer around middle, Sohail ducks. 50/2

21.2 N Wagner to Ali, Short in length and pulled from the crease to deep mid-wicket for a run. 50 comes up for Pakistan! 50/2

21.1 N Wagner to Sohail, Too full in length and around leg, it’s clipped through square leg for one. 49/2

20.6 A Patel to Ali, Goes quicker through the air this time, around off, Azhar keeps it out to covers. 48/2

20.5 A Patel to Ali, Slower one, extra loop, landing full on off, it’s been pushed off the front foot to covers. 48/2

20.4 A Patel to Ali, Arm ball, on middle, Azhar gets back and works it off his pads to mid-wicket. 48/2

20.3 A Patel to Ali, Ali has played that off the front foot and into the ground. 48/2

20.2 A Patel to Ali, Tossed up ball on off, spinning away a bit, Azhar gets slightly squared up and then defends it to the off side. 48/2

20.1 A Patel to Ali, A front foot drive from the bat of Azhar Ali but he finds the cover fielder. 48/2

19.6 N Wagner to Ali, Bangs in another short ball, around leg, Ali stands back and pulls it behind square leg for a run. 48/2

19.5 N Wagner to Ali, Shortish and on leg, Ali goes on his toes and taps it down towards short leg. 47/2

19.4 N Wagner to Ali, Wagner digs in a short ball, around off and angling away, Azhar shows good technique as he drops his wrists and sways away from the line. 47/2

19.3 N Wagner to Ali, Bowls it in line of the stumps, on a good length, Azhar stays put and defends it to the off side. 47/2

19.2 N Wagner to Ali, This one is quite harmless, outside off, Ali allows it through. 47/2

19.1 N Wagner to Ali, Lands it on a length around off, it’s defended off the back foot to the off side. 47/2

18.6 A Patel to Sohail, Quicker and on off, worked on the leg side but straight to the fielder. 47/2

18.5 A Patel to Sohail, Shout for an lbw! Not given and Kane Williamson decides not to review it. Big spin into the batsman from outside off, this time Haris offers no shot and wears it on his pads. They appeal and the umpire thinks that it has not spun in enough. Kane is seen having a chat with his keeper but then decides not to take the DRS. Good call. 47/2

18.4 A Patel to Sohail, Defended off the front foot by the batsman presenting the full face of the bat. 47/2

18.3 A Patel to Sohail, Floated full ball on off, defended off the front foot. 47/2

18.2 A Patel to Sohail, Walks down the track, nearly yorks himself and just digs it out at the last moment. 47/2

18.1 A Patel to Sohail, Excellent delivery. Landing outside off and breaking back into the batsman, Haris watchfully lets it through. 47/2

5 more overs left in the day’s play. Ajaz Patel to continue…

17.6 N Wagner to Ali, This one is angled away from the batsman outside off, an easy leave for Azhar again. 47/2

17.5 N Wagner to Ali, Bouncer around leg, Azhar ducks underneath it comfortably. 47/2

17.4 N Wagner to Sohail, A touch short and around off, Sohail uses his wrists to play it in the gap at mid-wicket for a quick single. 47/2

17.3 N Wagner to Sohail, Angling into the batsman, on a full length again, solidly defended. 46/2

17.2 N Wagner to Sohail, Fullish and on middle, Sohail pushes it down to mid off with a straight bat. 46/2

17.1 N Wagner to Sohail, Right on the money first ball. Full and around off, angling in, Sohail brings down a straight bat in defense. 46/2

Neil Wagner is introduced into the attack. Watch out for his pace and length. He can be quite intimidating at times.

16.6 A Patel to Ali, Arm ball this time. It skids on with the angle after landing around off, Ali goes deep inside the crease and defends it back at the last moment. 46/2

16.5 A Patel to Ali, Tossed up ball on off, defended off the front foot to covers. 46/2

16.4 A Patel to Ali, Spinning away from the batsman, Azhar drives it through covers and collects a couple of runs. 46/2

16.3 A Patel to Ali, Presses forward to a full ball and blocks it safely. 44/2

16.2 A Patel to Ali, Slower through the air, some extra loop on this one as it lands full around off, Azhar Ali defends it from the inner half of the bat to mid-wicket. 44/2

16.1 A Patel to Sohail, Flatter through the air, around off, Haris Sohail camps back and punches it through backward point for three runs. 44/2

15.6 de Grandhomme to Ali, Wide outside off stump, the batsman leaves it alone. 41/2

15.5 de Grandhomme to Ali, Variable bounce on this occasion. Azhar makes the leave outside off and it doesn’t carry to the keeper. 41/2

15.4 de Grandhomme to A Ali, Fullish and on middle, pushed down the ground but straight to mid on. 41/2

15.3 de Grandhomme to Ali, An inswinger this time, landing outside off and shaping back in, Ali takes a stride forward to cover the line and then makes a leave. 41/2

15.2 de Grandhomme to Ali, On a length and wide outside off, shaping away, Azhar shoulders arms. 41/2

15.1 de Grandhomme to Ali, Fullish and on off, Azhar defends it by getting forward and across. Extended spell this for Colin, into his 8th over now. 41/2

14.6 A Patel to Ali, Rocks back to a short ball and punches it towards cover-point for one. 41/2

14.5 A Patel to Ali, Strides forward to a full ball and drives it firmly through the line. The silly point fielder jumps to make way and it goes straight to the cover fielder. 40/2

14.4 A Patel to Ali, Walks down the track and is deceived in flight a bit. Ali does well eventually to block it out safely past silly point. 40/2

14.3 A Patel to Ali, Slower through the air, full and on off, Ali once again blocks it off his front foot. 40/2

14.2 A Patel to Ali, Flighted full ball on off, Ali defends it by getting forward. 40/2

14.1 A Patel to A Ali, Flat and short on off, Azhar cracks it off his back foot but finds the point fielder. 40/2

13.6 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Once again Sohail keeps his composure and allows a length ball through to the keeper. Maiden! 40/2

13.5 de Grandhomme to Sohail, A length delivery outside off, make it fourth leave in a row. 40/2

13.4 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Another comfortable leave outside the off stump by Haris. 40/2

13.3 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Once again playing on the patience of the batsman. Keeping it in the channel outside off and inviting the batsman to go after it. Sohail is watchful so far. 40/2

13.2 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Fuller in length and outside off, left alone by Haris. 40/2

13.1 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Lands it on a full length around off, Sohail defends it from the crease to the off side. 40/2

12.6 A Patel to Ali, Tossed up ball on middle, spinning away on landing, Azhar pushes his weight on the back foot and defends it down. 40/2

12.5 A Patel to Ali, Fuller and on off, defended back to the bowler off the front foot. 40/2

12.4 A Patel to Ali, Identical to the last delivery, this time Ali pushes it with an angled bat to covers. 40/2

12.3 A Patel to Ali, Full and around off, drifting in and spinning away, Ali defends it off his front foot. 40/2

12.2 A Patel to Ali, Tossed up ball around off, spinning away after landing, Ali allows it through to the keeper. 40/2

12.1 A Patel to Ali, Floated delivery to begin with but he lands it too full around off, Azhar leans forward and drives it through covers for a couple of runs. 40/2

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Debutant in action. Ajaz Patel has the ball in his hand.

11.6 de Grandhomme to H Sohail, Fullish and around off, Sohail slices his attempted drive to point where Henry misfields again. No run taken though. 38/2

11.5 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Oohhh…that’s unplayable! Colin pitches it on a length around middle and off, Haris tries to defend it with a straight bat but it nips away at the last moment to beat his bat. Must say, I was critical of his bowling initially but Colin has now settled into a nice rhythm. 38/2

11.4 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Third left alone in a row. He has been very watchful to deliveries outside the off stump and punishing everything in line of the stumps. 38/2

11.3 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Another gentle delivery in the zone outside off, left alone. 38/2

11.2 de Grandhomme to Sohail, Chooses to leave the ball outside his off stump. 38/2

11.1 de Grandhomme to Sohail, FOUR! And again! Second gorgeous drive from Sohail’s bat in no time. Colin overpitches in line of the stumps, Haris strides forward and with a lovely followthrough of the bat, he nails his straight drive. 38/2

10.6 T Boult to Ali, Beaten all ends up! Boult hurls across a length delivery on middle and off, angling away, Ali pushes inside the line without any footwork and gets beaten comprehensively. 34/2

10.5 T Boult to Sohail, Back of a length delivery on off, it’s punched off the back foot to point where Nicholls misfields and allows a single. 34/2

10.4 T Boult to Sohail, FOUR! Beautiful shot. Wonderful way to get off the mark. Full and straight from Boult, Haris Sohail offers a straight bat in response as he drives it back down the ground. No stopping that one, the timing is that good. 33/2

10.3 T Boult to Sohail, Holding its line outside off, on a length, left alone. 29/2

10.2 T Boult to Sohail, Back of a length delivery coming in from around off, Sohail covers the line and blocks well. 29/2

10.1 T Boult to Sohail, Lands it on a length outside off, holding its line, Sohail allows it through to the keeper. 29/2

9.6 de Grandhomme to Ali, A length delivery on leg, Ali defends it off his pads to the leg side. 29/2

9.5 de Grandhomme to Ali, Bowls it outside off, getting it to shape away, Azhar leans and drives it through cover-point for a couple. 29/2

9.4 de Grandhomme to Ali, Lands it fuller and on off, Ali gets forward with a vertical bat and defends it safely. 27/2

9.3 de Grandhomme to Ali, Full and angling in on off, some movement in the air, Azhar strides forward and blocks it solidly. 27/2

9.2 de Grandhomme to Ali, The batsman lets the ball go outside his off stump. 27/2

9.1 de Grandhomme to Ali, Shortish and outside off, Ali shoulders arms. 27/2

8.6 T Boult to Sohail, Defended off the front foot by the batsman presenting the full face of the bat. Another wicket maiden, back-to-back for New Zealand! 27/2

8.5 T Boult to Sohail, Sohail has defended it by getting right behind the line of the delivery. 27/2

8.4 T Boult to Sohail, Back of a length delivery outside off, some extra bounce, Sohail defends it off his back foot. The floodlights are switched on. 27/2

Drinks break. Meanwhile, Haris Sohail is the number 4 batsman.

8.3 T Boult to Hafeez, OUT! Wow, another false shot and another wicket! I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter how good or bad the pitch is, if you cannot show application, you won’t succeed. We saw that with the Kiwis and now we are seeing the same with Pakistan. Boult bangs in a short delivery around off, angling away, Hafeez stands tall to pull it over the leg side, middles his shot as well but straight into the hands of Williamson at short mid-wicket. Idea was right, not the execution. The Kiwis are delighted. They are ahead by 126 runs. 27/2

8.2 T Boult to Hafeez, Boult serves it way wide outside off, Hafeez has nothing to do with it. 27/1

8.1 T Boult to Hafeez, Good length delivery on off, angling away from the batsman, Hafeez stays put inside the crease and shoulders arms. 27/1

7.6 de Grandhomme to Ali, Shows the full face of the bat and defends the ball off the back foot. End of a successful over for New Zealand, a wicket maiden! 27/1

7.5 de Grandhomme to Ali, Loose, very loose by Azhar. Colin delivers an outswinger outside off, you should be leaving those early in the innings but Ali is tempted into the shot. Has a lazy waft at it and misses. 27/1

7.4 de Grandhomme to Ali, Ali has played that off the front foot and into the ground. 27/1

Azhar Ali is the number 3 batsman.

7.3 de Grandhomme to Imam, OUT! Caught at gully! Can you believe it, Colin de Grandhomme has successfully managed to play on the patience of the batsman. He keeps probing in the area outside off and this time Imam is lured into a drive away from his body. Fails to middle his shot properly and it flies off the outside edge to gully. Kane Williamson can take these catches even in his sleep. 11th wicket of the day on a pitch which looked like a batting beauty. 27/1

7.2 de Grandhomme to Imam, In the channel wide outside off, another easy leave. 27/0

7.1 de Grandhomme to Imam, Gentle harmless delivery, outside off and angling away, Imam covers his stumps and leaves it alone. All too easy against Colin de Grandhomme. In a way, the Kiwis are wasting the new nut. Should get in Wagner. 27/0

6.6 T Boult to Hafeez, Nearly chops it on! A delivery around off, angling away, Hafeez pushes at it tamely from the crease and gets an inside edge onto the pads. Nervy moment. 27/0

6.5 T Boult to Hafeez, Returns to over the wicket and angles across a good length delivery on off. Hafeez goes on the back foot and defends it to the off side. 27/0

6.4 T Boult to Hafeez, FOUR! Nice, very nice. Beautiful timing, elegant looking shot. As soon as Boult serves it full and outside off, Hafeez takes his front leg forward and creams it through covers. Two fielders were after it but the ball wins the race. 27/0

6.3 T Boult to Hafeez, Length ball on off, Hafeez defends it off his back foot. 23/0

6.2 T Boult to Imam, Good movement this time. Nipping back in from a fuller length around off, Imam leans across a bit and bunts it wide of mid on for a brisk single. 23/0

6.1 T Boult to Imam, Fuller in length and on off, Imam covers the movement and pushes it down to mid on. 22/0

5.6 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Defended off the front foot by the batsman presenting the full face of the bat. 22/0

5.5 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, In the corridor of uncertainty, Hafeez chooses to leave the ball outside his off stump. 22/0

5.4 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Uppish but safe! Colin slants in a length ball on middle, Hafeez is early into the flick shot and hence fails to keep it down. It falls in front of Sodhi at mid-wicket, luckily for Hafeez. 22/0

5.3 de Grandhomme to Imam, Fuller in line of the stumps, Imam plays it with soft hands to mid on and scampers across for a quick single. 22/0

5.2 de Grandhomme to Imam, In the channel outside off, Imam allows it through to the keeper. 21/0

5.1 de Grandhomme to Imam, Angling away from the batsman, outside off, Imam opens the face and plays it down through backward point for a couple of runs. 21/0

4.6 T Boult to Hafeez, Serves an inswinger, lands it wide outside off on a length, Hafeez takes a stride forward to cover the line and then shoulders arms. 19/0

4.5 T Boult to Hafeez, Shortish on middle, tucked off the pads to square leg. 19/0

4.4 T Boult to Hafeez, Angles in a good length ball on off, from ’round the wicket, Hafeez blocks it off his back foot. 19/0

4.3 T Boult to Imam, Another inswinger for the southpaw, Imam fails to flick and is hit high on the pads. It deflects to square leg and they steal a leg bye. 19/0

4.2 T Boult to Imam, Fullish and on middle, Imam pushes it down towards mid on. More of a check shot. 18/0

4.1 T Boult to Imam, Shout for an lbw! But it dies down immediately after seeing the umpire shake his head. Boult hurls in an inswinger, landing around off and sliding down leg, Imam fails to keep it out with a close-faced bat and is hit on the pads. Missing leg. 18/0

3.6 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Shaping away from the batsman, too wide outside off, Hafeez has nothing to do with it. 18/0

3.5 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Colin feeling the pressure. Slips a length ball down the leg side this time, Hafeez lets it be and Watling collects it by diving to his left. 18/0

3.4 de Grandhomme to M Hafeez, FOUR! Really substandard bowling. New Zealand will be already missing Southee here. Short and wide outside off, Hafeez camps back and slaps it square of the wicket on the off side for another boundary. 18/0

3.3 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, FOUR! Don’t bowl there to this batsman! De Grandhomme, in particular, cannot afford to bowl there at his pace. A juicy delivery, full and wide outside off, Hafeez takes into account the away movement and thumps his drive through covers. 14/0

3.2 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Wicket to wicket line, the length is fuller and there is some inward movement. Hafeez turns it at the last moment to mid-wicket. 10/0

3.1 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Good length delivery on off, no real pace again, it’s easily negotiated from the back foot by Hafeez. 10/0

2.6 T Boult to Hafeez, Sharp movement back into the batsman from around off, Hafeez closes the face of the bat and helps it to fine leg for one. 10/0

2.5 T Boult to Hafeez, Fuller in length on off, Hafeez defends it by remaining inside the crease. 9/0

2.4 T Boult to Hafeez, FOUR! Boult switches to ’round the wicket and serves a good length delivery outside off. It moves back in with the angle and Hafeez just gives it a push with an open face of his bat. Manages to time and place his shot through backward point for a boundary. 9/0

2.3 T Boult to Hafeez, Smartly played! Boult angles across a length delivery outside off, Hafeez prods forward with an angled bat and pushes it past the point fielder for a couple of runs. 5/0

2.2 T Boult to Hafeez, Fullish and on off, Hafeez blocks it by getting half-forward. 3/0

2.1 T Boult to Imam, Wrong line, sliding down the leg side, Imam picks it up off his pads and nudges it to long leg for a run. 3/0

1.6 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Fuller in length and around off again, Hafeez strides forward and pushes it with an angled bat to covers. 2/0

1.5 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, An inswinger on this occasion but no real pace. It lands outside off and has been easily left alone. 2/0

1.4 de Grandhomme to M Hafeez, Again it’s a pitched up delivery around off, Hafeez brings his bat down and pushes it firmly to mid off. 2/0

1.3 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, This time Colin bowls it closer to the off stump line, it’s fuller in length and there to be driven but Hafeez is watchful at the moment and allows it to go through. 2/0

1.2 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, Hint of away movement after it lands on a length outside off, Hafeez offers no shot and lets it be. 2/0

1.1 de Grandhomme to Hafeez, A gentle delivery, shortish and on off, punched off the back foot but straight to the fielder at cover-point. 2/0

Colin de Grandhomme to share the red cherry from the other end.

0.6 T Boult to Imam, Bowls it on a good length and outside off, Imam shoulders arms to complete the over. 2/0

0.5 T Boult to Imam, Puts in a length ball on off, angling in, Imam is solidly behind the line in defense. 2/0

0.4 T Boult to Imam, Shortish and on off, punched off the back foot but straight in the direction of the cover fielder. 2/0

0.3 T Boult to Imam, Angles in a length ball on middle, getting it to straighten, Imam covers the line and blocks it safely. 2/0

0.2 T Boult to Hafeez, This time Trent lands it on a length around leg, Hafeez clips it off his pads to fine leg for a run. Both the openers are off the mark. 2/0

0.1 T Boult to Imam, Boult starts the innings with a shortish delivery around off, Imam goes back and taps it down in the cover region for a run. 1/0



First Published: November 16, 2018, 10:59 AM IST