Sohail and Azam tons power Pakistan to 418-5 declared vs NZ
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Resilient centuries by Haris Sohail and Babar Azam powered Pakistan to 418-5 before it declared the first innings on the second day of the second test against New Zealand on Sunday.
New Zealand, leading the three-match series 1-0, was 24-0 at stumps with openers Jeet Raval (17) and Tom Latham (5) seeing off the nine overs.
New Zealand still trails by 394 runs on a wicket that has started to help spinners.
Sohail’s patient 147 off 421 balls spanned more than 9 1/2 hours and the maiden test hundred by Azam (127 not out) defied New Zealand for two sessions after Pakistan resumed on its overnight 207-4.
The duo raised 186 in a fifth-wicket stand before Trent Boult (1-106) finally broke the partnership shortly after tea by having Sohail out caught behind.
Boult, a left-arm fast bowler, had to wait until his 30th over to get his lone success with both batsmen solidly batting against seam and spin.
Seamer Colin de Grandhomme (2-44) and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel (1-120) couldn’t add to their first day’s wicket tally as Pakistan’s batsmen eased out toward a healthy total.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson tried six bowlers, including himself for five overs of off-spin, on the second day but couldn’t get past Sohail and Azam.
Neil Wagner’s (0-63) change of pace was also smartly read by both batsmen as they led Pakistan’s charge.
Azam survived a close run out chance in his 90s just before tea but Patel’s throw from point missed the stumps at the striker’s end.
Azam completed his first test hundred in his 17th test match when he finally flicked Boult to square leg for two runs.
Pakistan had a strong second session, scoring 82 runs with Azam, who hit 12 fours and two sixes, and showing intent to up the scoring rate.
Sohail hit 13 fours in his patient knock before he was finally undone by Boult’s delivery soon after the tea interval.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed survived two chances that included a dropped catch by Tom Latham before he hit a quickfire 30 off 45 balls and then declared Pakistan’s first innings.
Earlier, New Zealand bowlers couldn’t find any help in the wicket after taking the second new ball just seven overs in.
Sohail, who resumed on 81, had some nervy moments on 99 when he played 10 dot balls against Ish Sodhi (0-63) before finally getting his 100th run by sending the ball to mid-on against the leg-spinner to complete his century.
It was the fourth slowest test century in terms of balls for a Pakistan player behind former test opener Mudassar Nazar, Shoaib Malik and Azhar Ali.
New Zealand narrowly won the first test by four runs after Pakistan capitulated for 171 runs while chasing a 176-run target at Abu Dhabi.