Opener Imam-ul-Haq anchored Pakistan with a combative half century as the home team reached 154-3 late Tuesday after New Zealand piled a handy 449 in their first innings of the second Test in Karachi. At the end of day two, Haq were unbeaten on 74 and Saud Shakeel on 13 as the home side need a further 96 runs to avoid the follow-on. Pakistan started chaotically, losing opener Abdullah Shafique (19), Shan Masood (20) and skipper Babar Azam (24) before the Haq-Shakeel stand added 55 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket.
New Zealand’s tail, on the other hand, was wagging furiously, with Matt Henry (68 not out) and Ajaz Patel (35) both scoring Test records while adding an invaluable 104 runs for the last wicket.
The two-match series is tied after the first Test, also in Karachi, ended in a draw. The National Stadium pitch offered little to the bowlers, but Pakistan did itself no favors by running out skipper Azam, the team’s best batsman.
Haq drove Bracewell to the center of the wicket and saw Azam stranded at his end attempting a third run. But Haq took the lead with his seventh half-century – even when Shakeel needed 42 balls to hit the other side of the net.
Earlier, Shafique was the first Pakistani wicket to fall when he pulled pacer Henry’s short throw straight into the hands of Ajaz Patel and Masood flied out to Patel. Henry and Patel had previously teamed up to lift New Zealand from 345-9.
Henry broke eight boundaries and two sixes in his knock, improving his previous high against Australia in Christchurch in 2016 by six points. Patel also improved on his previous Test best of 20 – against England last year – before being the last wicket to fall, caught by spinner Abrar Ahmed.
Naseem took the first wicket of the day when he bowled Ish Sodhi for 11 with a ball that cut through sharply. Blundell, who turned 30 overnight, reached his 50th with a boundary and a single off Ahmed. He hit six boundaries in his 51 before being bowled by Ahmed.
The spinner then stumped Tim Southee for ten, before Henry and Patel extended the innings and helped New Zealand cross the 400 mark. Ahmed was the bowlers’ choice 4-149, while Naseem Shah (3-71) and Agha Salman (3-75) were the other successful bowlers.
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