Blundell, Henry hit fifties as NZ frustrate Pakistan

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Tom Blundell hit a half-century as New Zealand went past 400 in the morning session
Tom Blundell hit a half-century as New Zealand went past 400 in the morning session © AFP

New Zealand's tail wagged long enough to add 124 runs on the second morning, led by Tom Blundell's 51 and then an unbeaten 88-run stand for the last wicket between Matt Henry and Ajaz Patel which tilted the balance towards the visitors.

While Blundell lost his overnight partner, Ish Sodhi early in the day to Naseem Shah, he had some support from skipper Tim Southee who put on 31 with him and helped him get to an eighth Test fifty.

The duo arrested the slide briefly with their partnership, but a double blow sunk New Zealand further. Blundell, against the run of play, copped a grubber from Abrar Ahmed and was bowled for 51. Abrar struck once again in the next over, having Southee overbalancing to have him stumped. It pushed Abrar to the top of the list amongst leading wicket-takers for Pakistan in their first four Tests as he got his 26th.

Pakistan's hopes of wrapping up New Zealand's innings within 350 though was short-lived as the last-wicket pair of Matt Henry and Ajaz Patel swung away in a boundary-filled partnership.

Henry's assault began by taking on Hassan Ali who was hit for three boundaries - drilled through cover, lofted over mid-off and pulled over square leg - off consecutive balls. Meanwhile Ajaz Patel proved to be competent enough to hang in initially, getting off the mark only off the 15h ball he faced but soon grew in confidence to hit Abrar for a boundary. Henry managed to pocket another six by smashing Naseem Shah over midwicket as the duo took New Zealand past 400, which had seemed a long way out when they lost Sodhi on 309.

Henry brought up his third Test fifty off just 42 balls, Ajaz registered his highest Test score and the duo saw off 113 balls, denying Pakistan even during the extra thirty minutes on the first morning.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 433/9 (Devon Conway 122, Tom Latham 71, Matt Henry 56, Tom Blundell 51; Agha Salman 3-63) vs Pakistan