Hafeez & Shehzad guide Pakistan to 85-0
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Opening batsmen Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad gave Pakistan a confident start of 85-0 at lunch on the opening day of the first test against New Zealand on Sunday.
Hafeez, who struggled to score only 48 in his previous three test innings against Australia, was not out on 45 at the break after captain Misbah-ul-Haq won his third successive toss. Ahmed Shehzad made the most of a missed stumping when he was on 16 and will resume on 40.
New Zealand fast bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult didn’t get much assistance off a slow wicket before captain Brendon McCullum drafted his spinners Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi in the 10th over.
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling missed Shehzad’s stumping off Craig’s offspin and Sodhi found an outside edge of Hafeez’s bat on 35 but it fell just short of Ross Taylor in the slip.
Shehzad capitalized on the missed chance and hit successive boundaries on the off side in left-arm fast bowler Corey Anderson’s one over.
Hafeez — the only Pakistan top order batsman who struggled in historic 2-0 victory against Australia — used his feet well against the fast bowlers and grew in confidence when he didn’t hesitate to twice pull Southee just before lunch.
Pakistan kept faith in the same playing XI that defeated Michael Clarke’s men by 356 runs in the second test at the same venue last Monday for its first series victory against Australia in 20 years.
New Zealand included both Sodhi and Craig with the Sheikh Zayed Stadium wicket having a history of assisting slow bowlers as the match progresses.
Pakistan has not lost a test series to New Zealand since Black Caps won 2-0 in 1985.