Pakistan claw back with five wickets in eventful session

by   •  Published on
Naseem Shah bowled incisive spells through the course of the day
Naseem Shah bowled incisive spells through the course of the day © AFP

After toiling with little success for over two sessions when Devon Conway's ton powered New Zealand, the hosts Pakistan came roaring back in the final session picking up five wickets to restore some parity at the end of the first day.

Pakistan's charge in the final session began as soon as Conway fell, against the run of play, edging a cut against offspinner Agha Salman. This was quickly followed by Naseem Shah prising out Kane Williamson, who had put on 100 with Conway, with an outswinger in the very next over. Salman struck two more times in the session, bowling Daryl Mitchell through the gate and then having Henry Nicholls out caught behind on review. His fellow spinner, Abrar Ahmed joined the party trapping James Bracewell LBW with a leg break as New Zealand lost five wickets for just 35 runs.

This had been in complete contrast to how the day had gone up till then.

Conway, along with fellow opener, Tom Latham had made Pakistan's hunt for wickets futile for a large part of the day, putting on a 134-run stand first before Conway found another willing partner in Williamson, who assisted him in an unbeaten 92-run stand through the second session.

Pakistan had little going their way, barring a couple of close shouts against each batter. While Latham, given out LBW on the field, was saved by an inside edge caught on review, the bowler Mr Hamza had another review go against him, this time against Conway, with the height denying Pakistan. On 89, Conway offered another half a chance but a diving Saud Shakeel could not hold on to a sharp chance at gully.

Barring these occasions, Pakistan were made to toil hard right through. On a pitch that had a little more grass cover, there was initial movement for the pacers but both Conway and Latham found the going comfortable to get boundaries on a regular basis.

While Hamza and his pace partner Naseem Shah were guilty of erring in lengths that allowed the openers to get going, the initiative against the lone frontline spinner Abrar Ahmed was taken by Conway. After hitting a boundary off the first ball, he proceeded to loft Abrar for a six in his first over that put pressure on the spinner.

The boundary flow could not be culled by the returning Hasan Ali, who was promptly hit for two boundaries after a change of ends. Latham was the first to get to his fifty, his 24th in Tests, while Conway followed soon after to bring up his sixth Test fifty.

The onslaught continued in the next session, but Pakistan's hopes were raised when Naseem managed to trap Latham LBW on 71. That joy was short-lived, for Conway, along with Williamson, did not let up on the run-rate. Abrar copped a majority of the caning, going for 4.63 runs per over.

Conway got his ton with a clip through midwicket, which also took New Zealand past 200 and set them up with a solid foundation. Only for it to crack open as Pakistan dealt heavy blows before the end of the day.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 309/6 (Tom Latham 71, Devon Conway 122; Agha Salman 3-55) vs Pakistan