Sat, Dec 27, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Injured Shoaib restricts New Zealand to 151 for 5

AP , WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

Pakistan's opening bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, appeals for an lbw decision on New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent on day one of the second test between New Zealand and Pakistan at the Basin Reserve in Wellington yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Shoaib Akhtar bowled sparingly but with telling effect to reduce New Zealand to 151-5 on the first day of the second cricket test against Pakistan at the Basin Reserve yesterday.

Hampered by the calf muscle injury which ruled him out of the drawn first test in Hamilton, Shoaib bowled only 11 overs but took 3-14 to disarm New Zealand which had batted after winning the toss.

Only a strong innings by opener Mark Richardson, who batted throughout the day for 53, stood between New Zealand and greater disaster.

Richardson stayed at the crease for almost four hours on a day which lost most of the first session to rain, resisting Shoaib's early onslaught, and giving New Zealand meager respectability.

Shoaib took the new ball with a rollicking northerly gale at his back and bowled with a pace and accuracy which disconcerted the New Zealand top order.

He was unruffled by the gale or by the break for rain and bad light which interrupted the morning session after only 17 balls.

Shoaib dismissed opener Lou Vincent without scoring with his eighth ball of the day and had a ball remaining in his second over when umpires Dave Orchard and Asoka da Silva gave the batsmen the light.

He returned to bowl the last ball of his second over three hours later, trapping New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming lbw to leave New Zealand two down with one run on the board.

Richardson guided New Zealand's painstaking fightback.

He put on 39 in 74 minutes for the third wicket with test debutant Richard Jones, 53 in 65 minutes with Scott Styris and 51 in 104 minutes with Craig McMillan.

"It was typical Mark Richardson. He held the innings together and provided the foundation," Fleming said.

He hoped New Zealand could push their total towards 300 today, one which might be competitive on a pitch which is likely to become slow and low.

Shoaib controlled the day despite bowling only three short spells.

He claimed two wickets in his first spell and another, of Styris, in his second; returning for a final, two-over fling, at the Kiwis in the shadow of stumps.

There was little relief for New Zealand, however. When Shoaib's spells, in which he reached a maximum pace of 156kph, were over, Mohammad Sami took his place downwind and bowled with similar energy.

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