After rear-guard resistance, BLACKCAPS go down by 248 runs in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan take 1-0 lead

DAY FIVE: PAKISTAN 566 and 175-2 declared beat BLACKCAPS 262 and 231 all out (Ish Sodhi 63, Yasir Shah 3-74) by 248 runs at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan have continued their dominant Test form from their series against Australia, taking a 1-0 lead against the BLACKCAPS with a 248 run win at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Scorecard

Needing just two wickets to win and with the BLACKCAPS chasing a target of 480, Pakistan made early inroads when they got Mark Craig (28) early in the day.

They would not however have it all their own way.

Ish Sodhi continued his strong resistance, frustrating the Pakistan bowlers with a fantastic knock of 63. He was assisted by Trent Boult (19), who looked solid in his unbeaten innings, the pair putting on a very respectable 54 for the last wicket.

Unfortunately though the stand would come to an end in the 71st over, with Sodhi trapped lbw by Imran Khan. The BLACKCAPS were all out for 231, well short of their target.

It was a disappointing start to the test series for the BLACKCAPS, with Pakistan deservedly taking a 1-0 lead.

They’ll be determined to level things up when they play the second Test in Dubai on Monday. 

DAY FOUR: PAKISTAN 566 and 175-2 declared (Mohammad Hafeez 101*) lead BLACKCAPS 262 and 174-8 (Brendon McCullum 39) by 305 runs at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

It will take something special for the BLACKCAPS to avoid defeat against Pakistan in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, they're  reduced to 174-8 after being set 480 to win.

A ton from Mohammed Hafeez (101*) pushed Pakistan to 175-2 before the declaration came in the second session, leaving the visitors a daunting task.

The initial signs in the BLACKCAPS pursuit were promising, with first-innings centurion Tom Latham (20) and skipper Brendon McCullum (39) putting on 57 for the opening wicket.

Unfortunately that would be as good as it got for the BLACKCAPS, with Pakistan running through the top-order.

Latham was the first to go when he top edged his sweep shot in the 14th over. McCullum, and Taylor soon followed, with the BLACKCAPS heading to tea at 69-3.

Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson put up some resistance at the start of the third session, but once again the BLACKCAPS would lose wickets in clumps. In the space of 10 runs the hosts took four wickets and put themselves within striking distance of victory.

At 138-8 it looked as if the match would be over by stumps, but the spin duo of Mark Craig (27*) and Ish Sodhi (27*) had different ideas, withholding Pakistan’s onslaught with the ball and putting on an unbeaten 36 for the ninth wicket.

It seems to be a case of mission impossible for the BLACKCAPS, but rest assured that Craig and Sodhi will fight all the way to the end.  

 

DAY THREE: Pakistan 566-3 dec. and 15-0 lead BLACKCAPS 262 (Tom Latham 103, Corey Anderson 48, BJ Watling 42, Rahat Ali 4-22) by 319 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. 

The BLACKCAPS face a tremendous task to save the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, after giving up a 304 run lead in the first innings.

Tom Latham’s maiden Test century was the highlight for the BLACKCAPS on day three, with his super knock of 103 lifting his side to 262. That left Pakistan the option to enforce the follow-on, but the hosts declined and finished day three at 15-0 with a commanding overall lead of 319 runs.

Initial signs were good from the BLACKCAPS, with Latham and Brendon McCullum (18) reaching 33 without loss. Unfortunately McCullum’s dismissal in the 18th over was quickly followed by the departures of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, leaving the visitors struggling at 47-3.



Latham though was looking resolute, but desperately needed a partner to stick with him. Corey Anderson supplied that until lunch, with the pair putting 83 for the fourth wicket.

Unfortunately their stand came to an end when Anderson chopped on off the bowling of Rahat Ali, who would make a habit of breaking up key partnerships in the innings.

Latham continued to show-case his immense talent, maintaining his patience and sweeping the ball to great effect. Alongside BJ Watling (42) he took the BLACKCAPS to 200-5 and gave them a chance at surpassing the follow-on.

After 212 balls, the 22-year-old’s effort was rightfully rewarded when he brought up his ton with an elegant drive down the ground. He had been the glue for the BLACKCAPS innings and thoroughly deserved to reach the milestone after toiling hard under difficult circumstances.

Unfortunately three runs later his masterpiece came to an end and a cluster of wickets followed him.

A yorker from Ali brought started the momentum shift, trapping Latham lbw . Mark Craig and Tim Southee soon followed and the BLACKCAPS had gone from 215-5 to 219-8.



Watling showed his usual grit, but his undoing in the 88th over ended the BLACKCAPS innings, still 104 short of avoiding the follow-on.

Pakistan instead opted to bat again and will look to build a lead of 400 plus, before sending the BLACKCAPS in again for what will be a tough assignment on a deteriorating pitch.

The BLACKCAPS have shown plenty of times in recent history that they can scrap with the best of them in these scenarios – they’ll need plenty of that sort of resolve over the next couple of days.

 

Pakistan 566-3 declared (Ahmed Shehzad 176, Azhar Ali 87, Younis Khan 100, Misbah ul-Haq 102, Corey Anderson 2-68) lead BLACKCAPS 15-0 by 551 runs.

Pakistan have continued their dominant display of batting on day two of the first Test, setting the BLACKCAPS an imposing first-innings total of 566-3.

The BLACKCAPS opening pair of Brendon McCullum (9*) and Tom Latham (5*) then faced seven overs at the end of the day, but came through it unscathed and head into day three at 15-0.

Resuming the day at 269-1, the home side piled on plenty more runs, with three players brining up centuries during the innings.

Ahmed Shehzad and Azhar Ali (87) looked impenetrable for most of the first session of the day, with Shehzad surpassing his previous career best score of 147 in the process.

With lunch beckoning and the BLACKCAPS on the verge of a fruitless session, Corey Anderson picked up his second wicket, albeit in bizarre and unfortunate fashion.

Shehzad was surprised by a bouncer that struck him in the side of a head, causing him to fall over in agony and let go of his bat. In that process though, his bat fell on to the stumps, knocking off the bails and ending his brilliant innings of 176 after 371 balls.

The BLACKCAPS celebrations quickly turned to concern, with Shehzad clearly in a lot of pain. The 22-year-old eventually managed his way off the pitch an rushed to hospital, though promisingly returned to the ground later.

Nine overs after lunch the BLACKCAPS had their third wicket, with Ish Sodhi delivering a peach of a delivery to dismiss Ali. The number three was beaten all ends up by a ball which gripped, turned and clipped the top of his off-stump to send him on his way.

That brought together the dangerous pair of Younis Khan and Misbah ul-Haq, who would continue to carry Pakistan’s momentum. The BLACKCAPS though will be disappointed with a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes in the field, with Mishbah dropped twice.

The visitors would be made to pay. Khan and Misbah continued to apply the pain, bringing up unbeaten tons. Having both reached that milestone, Misbah declared, leaving a monumental mountain for the BLACKCAPS to climb in response.

Tomorrow looms as a pivotal day for the BLACKCAPS, who will need lengthy partnerships if they are to come close to hauling in Pakistan’s monster score.

Play begins at 7pm NZ time.

 

DAY ONE: Pakistan 269-1 in 90 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 126*, Mohammad Hafeez 96, COrey Anderson 1-31).

Pakistan have put on a superb performance with the bat on day one of the first Test in Abu Dhabi, with opener Ahmed Shehzad making an unbeaten 126 to put his side at 269-1 at stumps.

Corey Anderson secured the only wicket for the BLACKCAPS, in a day where all the little things didn’t go their way, or indeed, the toss.

The BLACKCAPS grafted hard all day in the field, but Pakistan were at the top of their game and now hold a considerable advantage heading into day two.

The Pakistan openers survived a couple of close calls early on, with Mark Craig particularly unlucky not to have Shehzad stumped on 16.

It would turn out to be a costly miss for the BLACKCAPS, with Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez (96) showing great control through until lunch, when Pakistan headed into the shed at 85-0.

The BLACKCAPS spin bowling duo of Craig and Ish Sodhi were bowling well, but it would be fair to say the half-chances weren’t falling their way.

The second session saw Hafeez pick up the run-rate and Pakistan reach 150 without loss. Not long after, the opening pair broke the record for Pakistan’s biggest opening wicket partnership against New Zealand.

At 174-0, the stand finally came to an end. Hafeez was four short of 100 when he hit one straight back at Anderson, with the 23-year-old hanging on to a tough chance to make a much needed breakthrough.

Unfortunately the home side maintained their momentum, with Shehzad going on to his third Test century. Alongside Azhar (46*) Ali he put Pakistan in full control by seeing out the rest of the day without further loss.

The bowling figures didn’t fairly reflect the effort the BLACKCAPS had put in, but they’ll be desperate to come back tomorrow and get some reward.

Day two starts at 7pm NZ time.

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