Sun, Jan 09, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Misbah, Shafiq put on 128 as Pakistan regain control


Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq, right, plays a shot as New Zealand wicketkeeper Reece Young looks on during the first Test in Hamilton, New Zealand, yesterday.


A crucial unbroken 128-run stand between Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq saw Pakistan regain control of the first Test against New Zealand on the second day yesterday.

The salvage mission for the fifth wicket took Pakistan to 235 for four at stumps, trailing New Zealand’s first innings 275 by 40 runs with six wickets in hand.

Shafiq has produced the highest score of the Test so far to be unbeaten on 74, with his captain Misbah on 50 not out.

The pair came together when New Zealand had seized the initiative in the middle session with three quick wickets to have Pakistan teetering at 107 for four, but the bowlers were unable to press home their advantage, toiling away on a placid wicket, while Shafiq and Misbah set about rescuing Pakistan’s innings.

The in-form Misbah grafted for more than three hours and was content to play the anchor role, while Shafiq kept the scoreboard ticking over, finding boundaries with ease.

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori rotated his bowlers and even resorted to using part-timers Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill, but Shafiq belted both of them out of the attack, scoring freely on both sides of the wicket.

Shafiq reached his 50 tickling an attempted yorker from Brent Arnel to fine-leg for a single and 14 overs later Misbah reached his milestone, hitting Williamson to the boundary.

The New Zealand first innings ended early in the day when their last three wickets fell for the addition of 15 runs.

Tim Southee failed to add to his overnight 56, while Kane Williamson reached 50 before he fell and Arnel was the last batsman to be dismissed.

Tanvir Ahmed had the best return of the Pakistan bowlers with four for 63. Abdur Rehman, who tied up New Zealand on the first day, was not required on the second morning and did not add to his overnight figures of three for 51.

New Zealand then made the best possible start in Pakistan’s innings when Chris Martin dismissed Mohammad Hafeez without scoring in the opening over, caught at second slip by Tim McIntosh, but it was to be a long wait before New Zealand would strike again, as Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali launched into the quick bowlers and raced to 72 by the 22nd over.

They were seldom troubled before the initiative changed in a brief spell after the break.

Martin, who had been punished for bowling full, dropped one short which Ali edged to debutant wicketkeeper Reece Young and was dismissed for 24.

Umar continued to plunder the boundaries and had reached 54, including 11 fours, when he flicked a full delivery from Brent Arnel and was caught at mid-wicket by Kane Williamson.

Younis Khan had five fours in his 23 when he attempted a similar shot to Umar and sent a leading edge back to the bowler to give Arnel his second wicket.

That was to be the end of New Zealand successes for the day as Misbah and Shafiq regained the initiative.

For New Zealand, Arnel has two for 53, Martin two for 67, Southee yielded 37 runs from 19 overs and Vettori conceded 29 runs from 22.

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