Tue, Dec 04, 2018 - Page 16 News List

New Zealand rally after Yasir Shah’s triple strike


New Zealand’s Henry Nicholls plays on to a ball bowled by Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah, unseen, on the first day of the third and final Test in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson yesterday scored a fighting half-century on a turning wicket as he rallied his team to 229-7 on the first day of the third and final Test against Pakistan.

Williamson’s 89 off 176 balls was the cornerstone of New Zealand’s revival after leg-spinner Yasir Shah’s (3-62) triple strike had left the visitors reeling at 72-4 before lunch.

B.J. Watling, who added 104 runs with Williamson for the fifth-wicket stand, defied Pakistan for more than four hours to remain unbeaten on 42 off 180 deliveries, hitting a solitary four in his patient knock.

Williamson and Watling dug in well and denied Pakistan success in the middle session before the home team got three wickets after tea to check New Zealand’s progress.

Fast bowler Hasan Ali finally broke the (1-46) century partnership when Williamson was caught at short midwicket.

The New Zealand captain used his feet well against the spinners and hit seven fours before falling to Hasan’s reverse swing.

Colin de Grandhomme (20) was smartly held by Asad Shafiq at leg slip only a ball after surviving a stumping attempt by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed off Bilal Asif’s (2-57) off-spin.

Tim Southee, playing his first Test of the series, then top-edged Asif before debutant Will Somerville (12 not out) successfully overturned a leg before wicket decision against the off-spinner and saw out the day with Watling.

Asif could have dented New Zealand after lunch, but Watling was dropped by Imam-ul-Haq at forward short-leg as Pakistan could not make further inroads after Shah’s demolition in the first session.

Williamson completed his half-century off 109 balls with three fours when he drove Asif to the covers for three runs, and looked comfortable against the seamers and spinners before he was undone by Hasan.

Earlier, Shah had taken the wickets of Jeet Raval (45) and Ross Taylor (0) off successive deliveries, before Henry Nicholls (1) played on to the leg-spinner after Williamson won the toss and elected to bat.

Shah — playing in his 33rd Test — needs two more wickets to become the quickest bowler in Test history to reach 200 wickets.

Australia leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett holds the record after taking his 200th wicket in his 36th Test in 1925.

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