Seamers thrive before de Grandhomme counterattack

New Zealand 170 for 5 (de Grandhomme 37*, Watling 10*, Sohail 2-62) v Pakistan
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Jeet Raval brought up his second Test fifty before nicking Imran Khan to slip © Getty Images

On a bright and rain-free second morning, Pakistan’s four fast bowlers tightened their lines and lengths and pegged New Zealand back with three important wickets. Having lost those three wickets for the addition of just 42 to their overnight score, however, New Zealand fought back via an unbroken 51-run partnership for the sixth wicket between BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme.

While Watling was his usual watchful self, de Grandhomme trusted his stand-and-deliver method to sprint to 37 off 54 balls. Never really moving his feet too much, de Grandhomme showed a pair of quick hands to play some sensational shots, including a shovel-pull off Imran Khan and a pair of back-foot punches between mid-off and extra-cover off Mohammad Amir.

The partnership drew New Zealand back on level terms on a still helpful pitch, helping them recover from a distinctly wobbly 119 for 5.

With the sky blue rather than the dark grey of the first morning, there was less swing available to Pakistan’s quicks. Perhaps as a result of this, though, all of them hit the deck harder than on day one, in an effort to maximise seam movement.

The day’s first strike came at a vital moment for Pakistan. Ross Taylor, continuing to profit from a switch to a more side-on, upright stance, was scoring at comfortably over a run a ball, and he had just stroked Mohammad Amir to the cover boundary to bring up his fifty partnership with Jeet Raval. Three balls later, at the start of the fifth over of the morning, Sohail Khan got one to nip back into him from just short of a good length and clip his inside edge through to the wicketkeeper as he looked to force the ball into the covers.

More to follow…

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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