Cricket: Pakistan make slow progress

By David Leggat

Colin de Grandhomme of New Zealand is congratulated by team mates after dismissing Sami Aslam of Pakistan. Photo / Getty
Colin de Grandhomme of New Zealand is congratulated by team mates after dismissing Sami Aslam of Pakistan. Photo / Getty

Pakistan went on an afternoon crawl to pull themselves into the first test against New Zealand at Hagley Oval.

Having dismissed New Zealand for 200 shortly before lunch on the third day, and thus conceded a 67-run first innings advantage, Pakistan openers Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam put their kneepads on and crawled through the first hour, adding 19 runs.

By tea, with Aslam finally caught behind for seven off a painstaking 57 balls, Pakistan were 50 for one, with Azhar on 19 after 142 minutes and 104 balls, and Babar Azam on 23 off 49 balls.

The pace lifted when rising young batsman Babar came in. He produced some forceful shots, which had been beyond Aslam.

Even so, the two-hour session, produced just 44 runs and Pakistan still sit 17 runs behind New Zealand.

Azhar, on six, survived playing no shot at a Trent Boult delivery which swung in and New Zealand's referral was rejected. It wasn't until the 16th over that Pakistan's total exceeded the number of overs bowled.

Aslam departed at 21, edging medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme to the keeper, giving the debutant his seventh wicket of the match.

Boult's eight overs had cost just nine, Tim Southee's 11 went for 10, de Grandhomme had been positively frivolous with 14 off his seven overs, Neil Wagner's six cost five while legspinner Todd Astle bowled three overs for 11 without looking to threaten

Only Wagner's up and at 'em approach put some spark into proceedings.

The morning session belonged to Pakistan's seam trio, Sohail Khan, Mohammad Amir and Rahat Ali, who snapped up the last seven New Zealand first innings wickets in 23.5 overs for 96.

New Zealand had squandered a chance to press home their first-day advantage. Indeed, they only reached 200 through some late hitting from Southee and Wagner.

By tea on the third day only new cap Jeet Raval had scored more than 35, marking his debut with 55.

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