Monday Dec 28 2020

Pak vs NZ: Faheem, Rizwan's late fightback save Pakistan from follow-on

Faheem Ashraf bats on day three of the first cricket Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on December 28, 2020. Photo: AFP
  • Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Rizwan put on 107 for the seventh wicket before Rizwan was out for 71
  • Faheem Ashraf scores career best 91 
  • New Zealand will start day four with 192-run lead

MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Pakistan were able to only manage 239 in their first innings on Monday at stumps on day three of the first Test in Mount Maunganui as New Zealand are all set to start their second innings with a 192-run lead.

New Zealand's efforts to quickly wrap up the first innings were stalled by a late century stand from skipper Mohammad Rizwan and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf at Mount Maunganui.

On a day disrupted by intermittent showers and an unseasonal hail storm, the Black Caps pace foursome took five for 50 in the first two sessions before Pakistan rallied to be all out for 239 at stumps.

Read more: Pakistan team celebrate Imam-ul-Haq's birthday in New Zealand

Rizwan and Ashraf provided a face-saving partnership for Pakistan with 107 for the seventh wicket before the former was run out for 71 by a smart underarm throw from Mitchell Santner at square leg.

Ashraf soldiered on to a career-best 91 before he was the last wicket to fall.

When Pakistan resumed the day at 30 for one, Abid Ali and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas were more intent on batting long rather than run gathering — especially with a question mark over the workload for the injured Neil Wagner.

The pair put on just nine runs in 74 balls while Wagner, who suffered a fractured toe while batting on Sunday and was told by a doctor he could bowl only if he could "tolerate the pain", was kept out of the attack.

The partnership was broken by Kyle Jamieson who hurt Abid Ali with the last ball of his first over which smacked into the batsman's fingers.

Two balls into Jamieson's next over Abid kept his hands out of the way from a ball wide of off stump, only to see it jag back and he was bowled for 25.

In the following over Trent Boult, who had troubled Abbas with a succession of short balls, found an edge with a full delivery and Ross Taylor held the catch at first slip.

Read more: After Babar and Imam, Shadab Khan also ruled out of first New Zealand Test

Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail stayed together for 50 deliveries but contributed only nine runs before both went in one Tim Southee over.

Azhar was caught by wicketkeeper BJ Watling and although the umpire missed the nick and turned down the appeal, New Zealand successfully reviewed the decision.

Sohail's exit was more straight forward with an attempted cut going straight to Henry Nicholls at gully.

Wagner tested his foot with three overs before lunch and continued with a seven-over spell after the break during which he took the only wicket to fall in the middle session with a trade-mark bouncer to Fawad Alam that was edged to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.

The nine-run knock continued a run of low scores for Alam who has adopted an unusual side-on stance that suggests he is expecting the ball to come from square leg — even more exaggerated than that of West Indies' great Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

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Jamieson had the remarkable figures of two for nine off 17 overs at tea but as the Rizwan-Ashraf partnership took its toll he ended the day with three for 35 off 23.1 overs.

Southee, Boult and Wagner took two wickets each.