Cricket: Black Caps in control but still work to do

By David Leggat in Hamilton

Colin de Grandhomme during the test between New Zealand Black Caps v Pakistan. Photo / Photosport
Colin de Grandhomme during the test between New Zealand Black Caps v Pakistan. Photo / Photosport

New Zealand hold the whip hand going into the last two days of the second cricket test against Pakistan at Seddon Park, but the tourists' did enough yesterday to give themselves some hope of squaring the series.

The day belonged to two players, along with the weather gods, who turned proceedings - 38.1 overs spread through the day - into one of those on-off exercises.

Tim Southee snared three further wickets to have his fifth bag of five or more wickets in a test, and first for 28 tests, finishing with six for 80, while Babar Azam held the flame alight for Pakistan with a fine, unbeaten 90.

The upshot is New Zealand's openers Tom Latham and Jeet Raval will start today aiming to build on the 55-run lead they established on the first innings.

But New Zealand aren't about to get ahead of themselves.

"We know they've got quality bowlers and with a wicket still offering a bit with the new ball we know we've got to come out and bat well to get into a decent position," seamer Tim Southee said last night.

"No way do we think the job's anywhere near done."

The day ended well for Southee, but when his first three-over spell went for 32 he may not have foreseen the final outcome.

Babar is in his third test and his innings yesterday, his best score in tests, was full of classy drives, cuts and neat workings to the onside.

He's 22 and full of promise. No wonder he looked crestfallen when the final wicket fell yesterday, leaving him stranded short of what would have been a top class century.

Pakistan hauled themselves back into the contest with stands of 74 (Babar and Sarfraz) and 67 (Babar and Sohail Khan).

New Zealand gave Mitchell Santner four overs yesterday, which while tidy, reinforced that this is a seamer's pitch.

The entertainment value was high in the morning session.

Spare a thought for Matt Henry, in for the injured Trent Boult. He performed manfully, much of the time into the breeze, and ended with none for 30 off 19 overs.

"He probably deserves a lot more credit than his figures showed," Southee said.

Pakistan will be fired by the prospect of losing the world No2 spot to Australia.

They need a win over the next two days to stop Australia grabbing that spot behind India.

And remember New Zealand's last series win over Pakistan was 31 years ago.

So motivation all around.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 04 Dec 2016 10:03:28 Processing Time: 637ms