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New Zealand's players celebrate after the dismissal of Pakistan's Mir Hamza during the fourth day of the second Test in Karachi on Thursday. Image Credit: AFP

Karachi: New Zealand set Pakistan a tricky target of 319 and then landed two late blows to boost their hopes of a series-clinching victory in the second Test on Thursday.

In his first series as Test captain, Tim Southee declared New Zealand’s second innings on 277-5 with three overs left on the penultimate day of the contest at the National Stadium.

Pakistan could not open their account in those overs but lost opener Abdullah Shafique and nightwatchman Mir Hamza in dying light to find themselves in a hole.

Sharp turn

Southee breached Abdullah Shafique’s defence with a ball that kept low and Ish Sodhi bowled Hamza with a sharply turning delivery, with both indicating how the pitch might behave on Friday.

Earlier, Sodhi claimed the final Pakistan wicket as the home side were all out for 408 in their first innings, conceding a lead of 41.

When New Zealand came out to bat for the second time in the match, Tom Latham (62) and Tom Blundell (74) smashed their second fifties of the contest and Michael Bracewell made 74 not out to stretch their overall lead past 300.

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New Zealand's Tom Blundell flicks the ball off his pads during his half-century in Karachi on Thursday. Image Credit: AFP

Umpiring decisions

Three wickets fell and several umpiring decisions had to be reversed in the eventful second session with Pakistan spinner Abrar Ahmed in the thick of things.

Pakistan blew two reviews inside 12 overs, trying to get Kane Williamson (41) lbw by Abrar on both occasions, and more agony was in store for the bespectacled spinner.

Abrar’s celebration was cut short when Latham, then on 36, got an lbw decision against him reversed.

Pakistan, wary of wasting their remaining review, then did not challenge a not-out decision after Abrar had trapped Latham plumb in front, as replays would later confirm.

Dropped chances

Abrar eventually had a hand in Latham’s dismissal as he took a stunning one-handed catch at midwicket.

Abrar also watched helplessly when he induced an edge from Blundell which Sarfaraz Khan spilled behind the stumps.

The opening Test between the sides had ended in a draw.

Meanwhile, star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi and leg-spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan are notably missing from Pakistan’s 16-member squad announced on Thursday for the three-match One Day International series against New Zealand.

Shaheen injured his knee during the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in November last year and has not played since.

World Cup preparations

Shadab, meanwhile, injured his finger this week playing in Australia’s Big Bash League.

The New Zealand series will be a vital part of Pakistan’s preparations for the World Cup later this year, interim chief selector Shahid Afridi said.

India will host the tournament in October-November.

The squad has several new faces including batters Kamran Ghulam and Tayyab Tahir, and leg-spinner Usama Mir — who all performed well in the Pakistan Cup one-day tournament.

There are recalls for all-rounder Haris Sohail and batter Shan Masood.

Sohail played the last of his 42 ODIS two years ago, while Masood has played five internationals, all in 2019.

Pakistan will play New Zealand on January 9, 11 and 13 in Karachi.


Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Agha Salman, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Usama Mir.