Pakistan level the series

A determined bowling performance by Pakistan ensured they would go to the final Test match one all after securing a 141 run win at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

The difference between the two sides was the batting with both sides putting in spirited bowling displays with the first innings score of 99 by the BLACKCAPS the low point in an otherwise even match.

A despondent Daniel Vettori said after the match, “We are happy with our bowling and have been for a long time.  They’ve done a pretty good job in most Test matches so hopefully they have a decent rest before the next Test.”

Starting the day on 70 for three the BLACKCAPS needed their top order to front up and build partnerships.  Unfortunately Peter Fulton and Grant Elliott failed again, scoring only 13 and six respectively.

Ross Taylor did his best to get the team back in the match with a superb 97.  The runs came a decent clip including nine boundaries and five sixes.

Vettori wasn’t making excused for the team, “Everyone comes under scrutiny now apart from Ross Taylor who has been the shining light in some poor batting displays. 

“All of them have to know they on are notice.  We go to Napier one all in the series and have to rectify it and it’s up to each individual to make sure they do it.”

Wicketkeeper batsman Brendon McCullum batted patiently for 24 with Vettori fighting until the end with 40.

Iain O’Brien provided some late entertainment with his highest Test score of 31 before being the final wicket to fall.

All credit goes to the excellent Pakistani bowling line up.  Mohammad Asif was on fire taking five for 67 with spinner Danish Kaneria chipping in with three for 74.

The two team face off in the deciding match at McLean Park in Napier starting on Friday 11th December.

Day 3: BLACKCAPS trail by 335

The BLACKCAPS are 70 for three at the end of an absorbing days play against Pakistan at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Pakistan started positively this morning and looked comfortable at 197 for three shortly after lunch. 

BLACKCAPS quick Chris Martin then removed Umar Akmal for 51 to spark a collapse that saw the tourists all out for 239.

It was an inspired bowling display by Martin who bowled with purpose in the middle session and was rewarded with figures of four for 52. Iain O’Brien also put in a spirited performance with four for 46.

Daniel Vettori was full of praise for the bowling attack, “To restrict them to that score was a fantastic effort from the seamers. It was a wonderful day’s cricket for us with the ball."

Mohammad Yousuf was the mainstay of the Pakistan innings with 83.

It was a poor start by the BLACKCAPS who lost Tim McIntosh in the second over for two.  Martin Guptill (15) and Daniel Flynn (20) looked to steady the innings before they fell in quick succession to leave the home team teetering on 37 for three.

It was left to Ross Taylor and Peter Fulton to see out the remaining 18 overs left in the days play.

Both batsmen were given lives by some sloppy fielding and will resume tomorrow with 335 require for victory with seven wickets in hand.

“Now we’ve got a partnership going and we’ve got to make sure that works tomorrow, and the batsmen to come. It’s a great deck too – that’s a positive thing. 

“We’re under no illusions – it’s a long way away.   But I think we’re in a lot better space than we were last night,” Vettori said.

Day 2: Pakistan take control on day two

Pakistan are firmly in control at the end of day two after taking their score through to 264 and then rolling the BLACKCAPS for 99.

The BLACKCAPS were hoping to wrap up the Pakistan inning before lunch for less than 200 but that wasn’t to be the case as their tail wagged.

Wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal was outstanding, hitting 70 runs and nursing the lower order through to the respectable total.

A 64 run stand between Akmal and Umar Gul was the highest of the match and it took a piece of brilliance from Daniel Vettori to break the partnership.  Akmal was looking to clear mid-off but didn’t quite get enough distance with Vettori taking an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch.

Daryl Tuffey took two wickets in the session to finish with four for 64 with Vettori returning the teams best figures of four for 58.

The BLACKCAPS openers were required to survive an awkward ten minutes before lunch but Mohammad Aamer made sure they were one day when he had Martin Guptill caught behind after fishing outside off stump.

Tim McIntosh went shortly after lunch for four when he edged a ball into his pads and was caught at short let. 

Ross Taylor comfortably hit 30 before misjudging a Umar Gul length ball that came back and grazed his off stump.  Peter Fulton came and went after only two balls to have the BLACKCAPS in all sorts of trouble at 52 for four.

The wickets kept tumbling with Flynn next to go for 29 and then Brendon McCullum nicked one to first slip off the very next ball with Grant Elliott back in the hut three overs later.

Vettori wasn’t able to repeat his batting heroics from the first Test with the final three wickets falling quickly to see them concede a 165 run lead.

A disappointed Vettori praised the quality Pakistani bowing, “To only put 100 runs on the board is not where we want to be. After how well we played in Dunedin, to back it up with a batting display like that is tough.

“It wasn’t a good batting performance. They bowled very well – Asif was outstanding and Gul backed him up from the top end.

“But there’s a lot of time left in the game and we’ve got to make sure that we don’t give it up now. The spell by Iain O’Brien showed that there’s still a lot of belief and a lot of fight. His spell has definitely lifted the guys.

“Tomorrow is a bowling day and we need our bowlers to step up again. We’ve got to come out and bowl exceptionally well.

“We have to make sure we go out and show that energy and then set ourselves up for a chance at chasing a big total.”

Pakistan openers Imran Farhat and Salman Butt got their team off to a solid start, putting on 49 for the first wicket before a fired up Iain O’Brien removed them both.

Mohammad Yousuf and Misbah ul-Haq  will resume tomorrow on 64 for two.

Day 1: BLACKCAPS take early advantage

Pakistan wasted a solid start to be 161 for six at the end of a weather disrupted first day of the second Test against the BLACKCAPS at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. 

It all started well for Pakistan, who were put into bat, with openers Imran Farhat and Salman Butt comfortably seeing off the opening bowlers.

Iain O’Brien then struck to remove Salman Butt for 29 and break the 60 run partnership. 

Vettori soon had his opening partner Imran Farhat for 32 before sneering the prize wicket of Mohammad Yousuf two balls later for a duck.

In form batsman Umar Akmal tried to wrestle back the momentum with a brisk 46 before a cracking in swinging Daryl Tuffey delivery hit the stumps.

Tuffey didn't have to wait long for his second with Shoaib Malik mishitting a drive - putting the BLACKCAPS firmly on top at 131 for five.

The Auckland fast bowler is playing his first Test in five years and made the most of his return.  Speaking after the game he said, “Obviously I was a little nervous going into the game, as I hadn’t played Test cricket in a while. But once I’d got the first spell out of the way I was back into the game, back into the groove and it feels really good to be back.

“I haven’t taken a Test wicket since about July 2004 when we were in England, in the second Test. So when I saw the bails flick off that was a great relief.

“We thought we were in with a shot even when they were 60 for none. Just before we got the wicket Dan said since we got one I think we’re going to get two and three – and it happened that way the next over.

“The biggest key for us tomorrow is going out there and restricting them. We want to bowl them out for under 200 – that’s a goal for us tomorrow. We can do that by keeping disciplined tomorrow. We’re at the start of the tail now, but you still have to bowl sensibly because these guys can get away.”

The Decision Review System couldn’t save Misbah-ul-Haq who swung across the line to a Vettori straight one to be trapped LBW to be Vettori's third.  Play stopped a short time later for bad light.
The wickets were well deserved on a pitch that promised to offer more to the bowler than it actually did. The BLACKAPS bowlers played with patience and out thought their opposition to put themselves in a strong position at the end of day one.

Play will start half an hour earlier tomorrow to make up for lost time.


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