Pakistan on victory path in first New Zealand Test


ABU DHABI: (DNA) –  Medium pacer Hasan Ali and leg-spinner Yasir Shah took five wickets apiece to set Pakistan on the path to victory on the third day of the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.Hasan collected his maiden five-wicket haul with 5-45 while Yasir finished with 5-110 — the 14th time he has taken five in a Test innings — as New Zealand collapsed from 220-4 to 249 all out soon after tea.

That left Pakistan needing 176 to win. By close they were 37 without loss with Imam-ul-Haq on 25 not out and Mohammad Hafeez unbeaten on eight. Pakistan needed another 139 to win with all ten wickets in hand and two days to play.

Yet New Zealand can take heart from the fact that Pakistan lost a Test here against Sri Lanka by 21 runs after being set 136 to win last year.

BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls defied Pakistan after lunch as New Zealand added 67 in the second session without losing a wicket.

Yasir broke the fifth-wicket stand at 112 after tea to start a burst of four wickets in 15 balls.

After Pakistan took the new ball at 201-4, Yasir had Nicholls caught beautifully by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed for 55. Nicholls hit three boundaries in his 171-ball knock.

In his next over, Yasir trapped Colin de Grandhomme leg-before for three. An over later, Yasir ended Watling´s 145-ball, 59-run, defiance leg-before. He then bowled Neil Wagner for nought.

Hasan then wrapped up the innings by bowling Ish Sodhi for 18 and had Trent Boult caught off a miscued drive for nought to improve on his previous best figures of 4-51 against England at Lord´s in May this year.

In the morning, New Zealand seemed in danger of losing the Test before the end of the day as three quick wickets fell for just 22 runs with Hasan taking two in the same over.

But, on 15, Watling survived a leg-before decision on review after umpire Bruce Oxenford raised his finger off Bilal Asif.

Hasan said he was pleased with his effort.

“It´s pleasing to record your first five-wicket haul,” said Hasan. “I kept it simple and even when there was a partnership we knew we needed just one wicket to run through them.”

The second Test is in Dubai (November 24-28) and the third in Abu Dhabi (December 3-7).