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Henry’s heroics help NZ on day 2

Tuesday 3 January 2023 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Henry’s heroics help NZ on day 2

Pakistan vs New Zealand – 2nd Test – Day 2 New Zealand 1st innings – 449 all out in 131 overs (Latham 71, Conway 122, Blundell 51, Matt Henry 68*, Naseem 3/71, Salman 3/75, Abrar 4/149) vs Pakistan 1st innings - 154 for 3 in 47 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 74*, Henry 1/35)

At the start of day 2 New Zealand were looking for a hero to take them past the 400 run mark in their first innings. They found two in Matt Henry & Ajaz Patel. From a precarious 345 for 9 they not only took New Zealand past the psychological 400 but added 49 more to frustrate the Pakistani’s. All the hard work that Pakistan did in the 1st hour of the day was squandered away in the next two hours.

It’s a funny game cricket. Neil Wagner who played the last test, was ineffective on a dead surface and hence Matt Henry was picked for this test to exploit any early swing and seam from the surface. Henry, who in the past has shown glimpses of his talent with the bat took the attack to all the Pakistan bowlers. His formula was pretty simple. Clear the front foot and make a strong connection with the ball. In a whirlwind knock of 68 not out that included 8 boundaries and 2 massive sixes he knocked the wind of a tired and clueless bowling attack. Ajaz Patel at the other end kept the good ones out, rotated strike and put the bad balls away.

In reply Pakistan managed to somehow gift New Zealand 3 wickets by the end of the day’s play. Opener Abdulla Shafique pulled one straight into the hands of deep square leg. The trap was set for him and he fell right into it.

Shan Masood looked like a million dollars for the first 10 balls of his innings, four of which he dispatched to the boundary. On the 11th though he played one shot too many and perished trying to cut a harmless delivery straight to point.

Then came the mother of all brain fades. Babar Azam run out while trying to take a third run in a test match. There probably was a third run there but Imam who played the shot was slow to get out of the blocks and stopped after taking a couple of steps into the third. Babar by then had fully committed and both batters found themselves at the same end. The question arises though ‘Is it worth risking your wicket for a tight third run in a test match?’

It’s not all doom and gloom for Pakistan though. Imam is well set on 74 and Saud Shakeel has already faced 75 balls for his patient 13. The pitch has no demons in it. The first hour tomorrow morning will be crucial for both sides. New Zealand will be on the hunt for early breakthroughs whereas Pakistan will be hoping to build partnerships right through their innings to first avoid the follow on and then get as close to the blackcaps score as possible.