Pakistan chip away but BJ Watling’s half-century keeps New Zealand in front

New Zealand
Yasir Shah had Kane Williamson caught at slip © Getty Images

Lunch New Zealand 301 for 5 (Watling 13*, Santner 11*, Afridi 3-71) vs Pakistan

A pair of timely wickets helped Pakistan keep themselves in contention on a seemingly improving batting surface in Mount Maunganui after Kane Williamson brought up his 23rd Test hundred on the second morning. With the pitch drying out, losing much of its green tinge, and offering significantly less seam movement than on day one, Williamson seemed poised to stretch his score to frightening proportions, and Pakistan seemed set for a long day in the field with Henry Nicholls also going past 50.

But just past the hour mark – by which time Williamson and Nicholls had extended their overnight partnership from 89 to 133 – Naseem Shah made the breakthrough, with a bit of fortune helping him along. Pakistan had been trying to attack Nicholls with the short ball, and Naseem produced a loud caught-behind shout when he hurried Nicholls through a hook from around the wicket. It was given out, perhaps because there seemed to be two noises, and Nicholls, after a lengthy consultation with his partner, declined to review, only for replays to show the ball had brushed both his forearms without hitting bat or glove.

Then Pakistan brought on Yasir Shah in the 18th over of the day, and the legspinner struck with his third ball, drawing Williamson forward with his flight, and finding the edge of his defensive bat with dip, turn and bounce. As with most Williamson edges, the ball barely carried, but Haris Sohail took a sharp one-handed catch diving to his right – it was referred upstairs by the on-field umpires, who signaled a soft signal of not-out, but replays showed quite clearly that Sohail had got his fingers underneath the ball as he fell.

More to follow…

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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