HAMILTON: A devastating spell from Tim Southee and Neil Wagner left Pakistan reeling 76-5 at the end of the second day of second test in Hamilton.
The kiwis stared the day badly, tumbling to 119 for 5 before their lower order hauled them to 271, and ended it in a commanding position, with Pakistan five down and trailing by 195.
Seddon Park is Southee’s home ground in domestic cricket, and he showed exactly how to bowl at this venue, hitting a much fuller length than any of the Pakistan seamers – including Sohail Khan, who took four wickets – had managed.
Southee’s devastating opening spell during which he claimed the wickers of Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali and Younis Khan, left Pakistan 12 for 3 in 8.5 overs.
Babar Azam, seeming to read length quicker than any of his team-mates, got right behind the line of the ball in defence, and punished anything loose, particularly anything cuttable or on his pads, while moving to an unbeaten 34. For a while it seemed as if Asad Shafiq would stay with him till stumps, as he counterattacked his way to 23, hitting four fours including three in one over from Colin de Grandhomme.
But he went after a full, wide one from Wagner, playing with an angled bat, and dragged the ball onto his stumps. Next ball, the debutant Mohammad Rizwan hooked straight to long leg, leaving Pakistan 51 for 5. Babar and Sarfraz Ahmed saw them through to stumps, putting on an unbroken 25 for the sixth wicket. A huge responsibility will rest on their shoulders at the start of day three, with one of the longer tails in world cricket to follow them.
New Zealand, on the other hand, boast a more-than-useful lower order, which rallied around the adhesive BJ Watling to rescue them after Pakistan’s seamers had taken three wickets for 42 runs at the start of the day’s play.