Cricket

NZ push for lead in Dubai

2014-11-19 16:53
New Zealand (AFP)

Dubai - New Zealand bowled with discipline and, despite Azhar Ali and Younis Khan's half-centuries, looked set for a lead in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Wednesday.

Pakistan lost Asad Shafiq in seamer Tim Southee's penultimate over for 44 to close the third day on 281-6, still trailing by 122 runs on New Zealand's first innings total of 403.

Sarfraz Ahmed was unbeaten on 28 and Yasir Shah on one in a day when the Pakistani batsmen failed to score big after getting good starts.

Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi led the New Zealand bowling with 2-65.

Trent Boult, who got the prized wicket of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq, termed it a good day for New Zealand.

"From our point of view it was a successful day," said Boult. "We are in a good position and the focus tomorrow will be to get a good lead to force a result in our favour."

Pakistan, resuming at 34-2 saw off the first session without losing any wicket as Younis Khan (72) and Azhar Ali (75) shared a 113-run stand for the third wicket.

But New Zealand got four wickets in the next two sessions to press home their claims for a useful lead and in turn improve their chances for a series-levelling win.

Pakistan won the first Test by 248 runs in Abu Dhabi.

Azhar added another 50 runs with Misbah, but New Zealand hit back with the second new ball taken after 83 overs with the score at 194-3.

Trent Boult claimed his first wicket in the series when he produced a beautiful delivery which got the edge of Misbah's bat and landed in the safe hands of Ross Taylor at first slip.

Misbah's 28 had two fours and a six.

Ali drove spinner Mark Craig through point for three to complete his 18th half-century.

But he too fell soon, trying to cut Sodhi and was bowled. He hit six boundaries and a six during his patient five-hour 22-minute vigil.

Shafiq was lucky to survive at 26 when Boult bowled him with a sharp incoming delivery but much to New Zealand's dismay it turned out to be a no-ball.

He too failed to bat for long and was caught off a loose shot in the end, adding 59 for the sixth wicket with Sarfraz.

In the morning, Pakistan's in-form batsmen were under pressure after a big New Zealand total and, more so, after losing both the openers cheaply on Tuesday.

But Younis and Ali showed no sign of pressure as they started the day solidly.

Younis reached his half-century with a sweetly-timed boundary off Craig.

Younis hit seven fours and two sixes -- both off Craig -- during his 160-ball knock but fell to a casual shot, spoiling a good chance of scoring another hundred.

He also amassed 468 runs with three hundreds in the 2-0 white-wash of Australia in the preceding series, also played in United Arab Emirates.

The third and final Test begins in Sharjah from November 26.

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