The series opener between New Zealand and Pakistan saw the hosts ride strong on day one as Pakistan struggled in the field. Having won the toss, the visitors decided to bowl first. And the decision paid off as Shaheen Afridi was emphatic with the new ball. Afridi sent both the openers packing cheaply. But the experienced pair of captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor steadied the ship for the hosts. Williamson and Taylor stitched a 120 run stand before the latter fell to Afridi for 70.
But the Kiwis made sure that the momentum was not shifted over to Pakistan as Henry Nicholls joined the skipper in the middle. The new pair continued to grind the visitors building on the good work of Williamson and Taylor.
In the 77th over of the innings, Yasir Shah bowled a decent delivery which Nicholls tried to cut and missed. The wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan collected the ball but the batsman survived. Shah, who was desperate for a wicket ended up yelling in frustration, “Out ho jaa bhootni ke,” which roughly translates to, “Get out man.” And the leggie’s frustration was justified as he went wicketless in the day despite bowling consistently. And Pakistan have themselves to blame having dropped both the batsmen, Williamson and Nicholls, once each.
New Zealand finish the day in the driver’s seat
New Zealand were at the top of their game throughout day one of the Boxing Day Test. Barring a couple of early wickets, the Kiwis were in absolute control of the game. Following Williamson and Taylor’s century stand for the third wicket, Nicholls made sure no more wickets fell. He was lucky though having dropped once but made the tourists pay for their mistake.
Williamson was yet again a class apart playing as he went about some eye-catching strokes. He ended the day unbeaten on 94 as the Kiwis amassed 222 runs for the loss of three in 87 overs. Pakistan will have to bowl well on the second day to have any chance of winning the Test match and most importantly, hold on to their chances. On the other hand, the Kiwis are looking all set to feature in the final of the World Test Championship after India‘s poor run in the format lately. India will have to all their remaining games to book a spot in the final at Lords.