New Zealand’s fast-bowling quartet leaves Pakistan in disarray

Abid Ali looks back after being bowled by Kyle Jamieson © Getty Images

Lunch Pakistan 62 for 5 (Rizwan 6*, Alam 5*, Jamieson 2-7, Southee 2-22) trail New Zealand 431 by 369 runs

Twenty-six overs, 32 runs, four wickets. New Zealand are right on top at Mount Maunganui after a session in which their relentless pace attack ripped through Pakistan’s efforts to stonewall their way through their first innings.

At lunch on day three, Pakistan were 62 for 5, still trailing the home side by 369 runs.

It took until the 13th over of the morning for New Zealand to make their first breakthrough, and through that period Abid Ali and Mohammad Abbas had looked mostly in control on a pitch that has eased up considerably since day one in terms of the seam movement on offer. There were no loose balls from Tim Southee and Trent Boult, though, and the batsmen made little effort to force the pace either.

Abbas, on 0 off 15 overnight, took a further 22 balls to get off the mark, and Pakistan wouldn’t have minded that from their nightwatchman. Abid too was content to block or leave balls that were perhaps full enough to drive, and while that may have made New Zealand work even harder for his wicket, there was a sense that such a strategy might be better suited against an attack with less depth than New Zealand’s.

Against this attack, there was no release bowler for Pakistan to cash in on, after doing the hard work of seeing off the lead pair. And it was the first-change bowler who produced the breakthrough.

It had become evident through the second day that uncertain bounce would turn into the biggest weapon for the bowlers to work with on this pitch, and so it proved. The 6’8″ Kyle Jamieson produced two balls that lifted from just short of a length in his first over of the morning, getting one to bounce over Abid’s attempted square cut, and the other to crunch into his glove while he attempted to defend.

Those two balls must have been at the back of Abid’s mind at the start of Jamieson’s next over, because he was late in getting forward to defend a fullish ball delivered from wide of the crease. That created a gap between his front pad and his bat, which came slicing down at an angle, and the ball zipped through to knock back off stump.

Having made this opening, New Zealand burst through it. Boult, who had been taken off after five overs, came back from the same end after just one over from the left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, eager to get at Abbas again. Having pushed him back with numerous short balls through his earlier spell, from over and around the wicket, he got Abbas to push weakly at a length ball angling into him in the corridor, without moving his feet, and found his edge through to slip.

It didn’t take long for three down to become five down. Southee, returning to the attack for his second spell of the morning, bowled the ball of the session to send back Azhar Ali, angling it in towards off stump, getting it to straighten late, and rooting the batsman to the crease with his length. There was the faintest of edges through to BJ Watling, which umpire Chris Gaffaney failed to pick up, but Watling reviewed immediately, superseding his captain Kane Williamson, and Azhar had to walk back.

The theme of uncertain footwork continued four balls later, when Haris Sohail failed to get far enough forward to drive a Southee ball angled across him. He edged to gully, and Pakistan were 52 for 5.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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