Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Sport | By

Azhar Ali shines in last Test against New Zealand

Azhar Ali shines in last Test against New Zealand

Smart money says Pakistan will triumph. Yet all we can do is to contemplate the Black Caps trailing by 48 runs with eight second-innings wickets in hand, refer to recent history as a potential guide and then wait for this three-test contest to play out in Abu Dhabi.

In that match, Pakistan were set the seemingly simple task of scoring 176 for victory in their second innings, only to be stunningly dismissed for 171.

New Zealand will start day four of the third and final Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

However, by stumps, the Black Caps had lost both openers, with Jeet Raval being trapped lbw for a duck - his first in test cricket - before a moment of madness from Tom Latham saw him aggressively sweep Yasir Shah, picking out Haris Sohail at deep square leg who took an excellent low catch.

Earlier, resuming on 139-3, Pakistan had a productive first session. They looked to be headed for a lead of over 150 when Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq were batting but eventually mustered just 74.

Azhar edged medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme through the slips to complete his first century since May 2017 against the West Indies in Dominica - and his first hundred against New Zealand.

The pair's 201-run partnership for the fourth wicket ended when Azhar became off-spinner Somerville's first test victim.

Shah was run out in freaky fashion when he lost his right shoe while going for the second run with captain Sarfraz Ahmed (25).

New Zealand couldn't get the breakthrough even after bowling 10 overs with the second new ball before lunch. With no assistance in the wicket for the quicks, Tim Southee and Boult both deserved a little more reward for their sterling efforts. That was in sharp contrast to the effort of Pakistan spinners Bilal Asif and Shah, who bagged eight wickets between them in New Zealand's first innings score of 274.

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