Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan bring Pakistan to within a session of a draw

New Zealand
Azhar Ali fell in the second over of the day’s play © Getty Images

Lunch Pakistan 239 and 137 for 4 (Alam 48*, Rizwan 20*) need another 236 runs to beat New Zealand 431 and 180 for 5 dec

An unbroken fifth-wicket stand between Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan, so far spanning 25.3 overs, has kept alive Pakistan’s hopes of saving the first Test at Mount Maunganui. With six wickets in hand, the visitors will need to survive two more sessions, with their chances of going after their target of 373 now close to nil on a two-paced fifth-day pitch offering uncertain bounce.

The pair came together in the second over of the morning, when Azhar Ali, batting on 38 off 119 at that point, nicked off attempting an uncharacteristically loose push outside off stump to a fullish ball from Trent Boult that seamed away to accentuate it’s angle across the right-hand batsman. Perhaps he was playing for inswing, with the previous ball having swung a touch down the leg side to allow him to pick up a boundary to fine leg.

Alam and Rizwan then endured a multi-pronged examination of their techniques as New Zealand used unusual angles and set unorthodox fields to try and prise out a breakthrough on a pitch where edges were unlikely to carry to a regulation slip cordon.

More to follow…

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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