Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor fight back after Shaheen Afridi’s early strikes

New Zealand

Pakistan have gone in with four quicks and the legspinner Yasir Shah

Toss Pakistan chose to bowl vs New Zealand

New Zealand has lately been among the hardest countries for visiting teams to win Test matches in, but a weakened Pakistan team, shorn of their regular captain and batting talisman Babar Azam, has begun the first Test on a positive note by winning the toss. Stand-in captain Mohammad Rizwan has put New Zealand in on a pitch with a healthy covering of grass at Mount Maunganui.

There were two changes for New Zealand from the team that recently beat West Indies in the second Test in Wellington. Their captain Kane Williamson, who had missed that Test on paternal leave, returned in place of Will Young, while Mitchell Santner came back into the side to give New Zealand a spin option in place of the seam-bowling allrounder Daryl Mitchell.

Pakistan’s XI was along expected lines, with the legspinner Yasir Shah joining four seamers – Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and the allrounder Faheem Ashraf – in a five-man attack.

Ross Taylor, meanwhile, was named in a New Zealand XI for the 438th time in international cricket, which made him their highest-capped player ahead of Daniel Vettori.

Pakistan: 1 Shan Masood, 2 Abid Ali, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Fawad Alam, 5 Haris Sohail, 6 Mohammad Rizwan (capt and wk), 7 Faheem Ashraf, 8 Yasir Shah, 9 Mohammad Abbas, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Naseem Shah.

New Zealand: 1 Tom Latham, 2 Tom Blundell, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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