TODAY |

Black Caps bowlers lead fightback against Pakistan

New Zealand came back strongly by dismissing Pakistan for 227 and curtailing its opponents' lead to 74 runs on the second day of the first Test.

New Zealand recovered from Tom Latham's first-ball dismissal to reach 56-1 in its second innings at stumps, trailing by just 18 runs.

Captain Kane Williamson, who scored a fighting half century in New Zealand's first-innings score of 153, was batting on 27. Jeet Raval was not out on 26 as both batsmen batted resolutely against seamer Mohammad Abbas and leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

Earlier, fast bowler Trent Boult (4-54) and debutant spinner Ajaz Patel (2-64) limited Pakistan's lead after Pakistan resumed on overnight 59-2.

Boult broke the two half century stands on either side of the first two sessions and Patel took his both wickets in quick succession after lunch before Pakistan was bowled out soon after tea.

Babar Azam (62) was the only batsman to hit a half century before he was the last man to be dismissed, caught low down the leg side by diving wicketkeeper B.J. Watling which gave Boult his fourth wicket.

Neil Wagner (1-30) was also rewarded for his steady bowling as the left-arm seamer had Yasir Shah (9) caught behind just before tea for his 150th test wicket.

Pakistan batsmen struggled against Boult's swing and some tight bowling by Patel, the left-arm spinner. Boult, also the left-armer, broke the 83-run fourth-wicket stand between Asad Shafiq (43) and Azam when he had Shafiq's offstump uprooted after lunch.

Patel then lured Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (2) into his favorite sweep shot and had him caught at backward square leg before Watling did smart stumping to remove Bilal Asif (11).

Pakistan lost both its overnight batsmen, Haris Sohail (38) and Azhar Ali (22), on 91 inside the first hour.

Both batsmen stretched their third-wicket stand to 64 runs until New Zealand struck in successive overs through leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and Boult.

Williamson surprisingly held back Boult for half an hour and went with the gentle medium pace of Colin de Grandhomme (2-30) before Boult created an opportunity in his first over of the day.

Azhar should have been out on 19 but Paval dropped an easy overhead catch at short mid-wicket. In Boult's next over, New Zealand wasted one of its two reviews by going for an unsuccessful television referral against Azhar, who struggled to get going in his 95-ball knock.

Sodhi finally got the breakthrough when Sohail hit a low full toss straight to Tom Latham and Watling took a stunning low one-handed diving catch to his right to dismiss Azhar that gave Boult a deserving wicket.

Shafiq and Azam then denied New Zealand any more success before lunch until Boult returned after the break and gave New Zealand a much needed breakthrough that eventually limited Pakistan lead.

New Zealand had an early setback before it had scored when fast bowler Hasan Ali sent Latham's offstump cartwheeling off his very first delivery before Williamson and Raval batted solidly and narrowed down the Pakistan lead.