Pakistan reached 139-3 in reply to New Zealand’s 274 all out on day two of a turgid third Test in Abu Dhabi. The Black Caps limped to 229-7 at stumps on day one and added 45 runs on Tuesday, with wicket-keeper BJ Watling finishing unbeaten on 77.
It was a vital knock in the circumstances and the fact his innings spanned 250 deliveries proves just how slow and unresponsive the UAE pitch is.
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Bilal Asif was the most successful of the Pakistan bowlers, returning figures of 5-65, while Yasir Shah took 3-75.
The Asian side’s innings began badly as Imam ul-Haq went for eight while Mohammad Hafeez failed to trouble the scorers, with Trent Boult claiming both scalps, but Haris Sohail dug in to make a watchful 34.
Asad Shafiq is still there on 26 but it is Azhar Ali who has been the glue, hanging around for 169 deliveries to end the day unbeaten on 62.
Pakistan trail New Zealand by 135 runs with seven wickets remaining and much will depend on whether the Kiwis can remove Azhar early on day three.