New Zealand A v Pakistan, 2nd First-Class match, Abu Dhabi

Neil Wagner hits the ground running for NZ A

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New Zealand A had an opportunity to put the heat on their Pakistan counterparts in their final tour match at Abu Dhabi, but could not make the most of it.

At stumps on the opening day of their second four-day fixture at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Pakistan A, having won the toss in good batting conditions, were 280 for four, with New Zealand left to rue a strong first session and a disappointing end.

Pakistan A were 120 for four early in the second session after test seamer Neil Wagner had ripped out three wickets, including twin centurymaker from the first four-day clash, Shan Masood, for 53.

However, by stumps an unbroken 160-run stand for the fifth wicket had put Pakistan A firmly on top.

Saad Ali was on 107, his 10th first-class century, and former test batsman Usman Salahuddin on 65.

But it should have been a different story.

Ali was dropped by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell before he'd reached 20 off seamer Scott Kuggeleijn, before a double blow shortly before stumps.

Salahuddin was caught off a no-ball from fast-medium Logan van Beek in his second last over of the day.

Then two overs later, off the final ball of the day, captain Jeet Raval spilled a catch from Ali which would have given the team a late lift.

The pitch was drier than that used in Dubai last week and New Zealand were left with one frontline spinner in Rachin Ravindra, after left armer Ajaz Patel's call-up to the Black Caps ODI squad.

New Zealand used eight bowlers over the day as Raval sought a breakthrough in the final session.

Wagner, preparing for the test series against Pakistan, finished the day with a tidy three for 48 off 19 busy overs, while the other wicket-taker was Blair Tickner, who has one for 40 off his 14 overs.

New Zealand made five changes from the side in the first four-day fixture, Wagner, Blundell, Tom Bruce, Tim Seifert and Glenn Phillips taking the places of Kyle Jamieson, George Worker, Dane Cleaver, BJ Watling andTodd Astle.

Raval nicely poised on 67* after day two

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Opener Jeet Raval has the chance for some solid Test preparation in New Zealand A's final tour match against Pakistan A in Abu Dhabi.

At the halfway point of the four-day fixture, New Zealand A were 141 for two, replying to Pakistan's 427 for eight declared.

Scorecard

Raval, captaining New Zealand A, is on 67 off 132 balls, with Rachin Ravindra on eight.

Lefthander Raval, expected to open the innings when the Test series against Pakistan starts at the same location on November 16, rode his luck in the middle.

He was dropped three times, but dug in, cashed in on his good fortune, and now has the chance for further valuable time in the middle when the third day starts.

Raval, who averages 38.11 in his 11 tests, has two test fifties against Pakistan in his two matches against them.

Along with Will Young, he shared a 68-run opening stand, then put on a further 58 with Tim Seifert for the second wicket.

Young was bowled by a good delivery from seamer Taj Wali while Seifert touched a catch to the wicketkeeper off left arm spinner Mohammad Asghar.

Earlier Pakistan A pushed on from their overnight 280 for four.

Usman Salahuddin became the second centurymaker of the innings, getting to 125, with Saad Ali finally out for 144, their stand worth 230, but the declaration came later in the day than New Zealand might have hoped.

The first four-day match was drawn in Dubai and their chances of forcing a win to end the tour on a strong note are slim.

However, with the pitch still good, albeit offering a touch more help to the spinners than a day ago, they are determined to ensure they don't head home with a loss as their final memory of the trip.

There were two wickets apiece for left arm spinner Ravindra - his first in first-class cricket - and Tom Bruce while Neil Wagner warmed up for the first test by taking three for 60. 

Raval falls for 97 as NZ A face uphill battle

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New Zealand A have a tall order if they are to pull off a tour-ending victory against Pakistan A in Abu Dhabi.

The hosts will start day four on 53 for one in their second innings, holding an overall lead of 100.

With the pitch still playing comfortably, New Zealand's bowlers will need to produce a top class display if they are to have a chance of pressing for a winning position.

New Zealand started day three at 141 for two and got through a solid day's batting before declaring at 380 for eight, trailing Pakistan A by 47 runs.

The star turns were captain Jeet Raval, teenage allrounder Rachin Ravindra and, using more direct methods, seamer Neil Wagner.

His eighth first-class 50 included four sixes, three of them clubbed over long on off Pakistan's most successful bowler, left arm spinner Mohammed Asghar.

Raval, starting on 67, got to 97 before edging a short ball from Asghar, attempting a forcing shot into the onside.

The left-hand Test opener had spent 5 hours and 20 minutes at the crease in an ideal preparation for the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Friday, November 16.

Ravindra showed his class in a tidy 64 before being beaten and bowled by the second new ball. 

The pair had added 69 for the third wicket and there were further useful stands between Ravindra and Tom Blundell of 52 for the fourth wicket and 58 between Wagner, who finished on 53 at the declaration, and Scott Kuggeleijn for the eighth wicket.

Blundell, Glenn Phillips and Tom Bruce all contributed twenties.

Asghar finished with four for 127 in a marathon display to keep the batsmen honest.

Needing early success when they declared, New Zealand were immediately buoyed by removing Shan Masood, whose last three innings against them had produced 168, 100 and 73, for 11.

He edged Logan van Beek to first slip where Raval took his third catch of the match, above his head, in the seventh over.

However seamer van Beek was gone before stumps, suffering a shoulder injury in his fifth over.

The odds are heavily leaning to a draw, but New Zealand, who had Pakistan in trouble early in the first innings, will be aiming to put a final squeeze on in the first session and hope to give themselves a chance of ending the tour on a spectacular note.

NZ A claim hard-fought drawn series

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New Zealand A endured some anxious moments on the final afternoon before securing a draw in their last tour match against Pakistan A in Abu Dhabi.

Left to chase an improbable 254 in a minimum 41 overs to win the match, and with it the two-game first-class rubber, New Zealand A were 68 for five when the match was called off.

However at 16 for three inside eight overs it was a tense finale before Tom Bruce and Rachin Ravindra saw the game through to an early finish.

It was fitting that Ravindra, the promising 18-year-old Wellington allrounder, was there at the finish as he's had a good series, which has marked his first-class debut.

Will Young and Tim Seifert were out in consecutive balls from former test bowler Ehsan Adil and when Glenn Phillips departed to the same bowler shortly after tea New Zealand A were at risk of seeing the tour end on a disappointing note.

However, captain Jeet Raval and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell stuck around for a time before being dismissed in consecutive overs.

From 52 for five, Ravindra (12 not out off 38 balls) and Bruce (six not out off 30) then stopped Pakistan's march.

Earlier a seventh Pakistan century across the tour ended the slim hopes that New Zealand could force themselves into a challenging position.

Opener Abid Ali was on 105 when Pakistan declared at 206 for two, while Usman Salahuddin was on 64, the pair having added 146 for the third wicket.

That came after an early success for Ravindra just briefly lifted New Zealand's spirits.

The tour of eight games finished with the T20 series won 2-1, the 50-over rubber lost 3-0 and the two four-dayers both drawn.

While opener Raval and fast bowler Neil Wagner stay on for the three-test series against Pakistan, the bulk of the players head home ahead of the arrival of a strong India A team for a visit which starts at Mount Maunganui on November 16.

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