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Naseem swings day 1 to maintain balance

Monday 2 January 2023 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Naseem swings day 1 to maintain balance

Pakistan vs New Zealand – 2nd Test – Day 1 New Zealand 1st innings – 309 for 6 in 90 overs (Latham 71, Conway 122, Naseem 2/44, Salman 3/55)

In the sub-continent you always want to win the toss because batting first is a huge advantage. A flat pitch, both kiwi openers in form and a relatively new Pakistan bowling attack meant that the blackcaps got off to a flier. At 119 for no loss at lunch the test match was already slipping away from Pakistan’s grasp quite swiftly. M/s Latham and Conway looked in no trouble at all rotating the strike and putting every bad ball away to the boundary.

Enter Naseem Shah. Not sure what he had for lunch but Naseem came out and found a potent weapon called reverse swing. For reverse swing to turn up a lot of things need to happen. The surface (pitch and outfield) needs to be abrasive. You then need to keep shining one side of the ball while letting the other side naturally become rough. This means you need to have patience. Then you need to release the ball at the perfect angle at high speeds. Pakistan were patient and in Naseem they had the perfect bowler to exploit reverse swing when it showed up. It helped Pakistan first dismiss the well set Tom Latham after lunch and then the dangerous Kane Williamson after tea.

In between lunch and tea though Devon Conway brought up his 4th test hundred in only his 12th test match. The legend of Devon Conway keeps growing day by day. A late bloomer due to his migration from South Africa to New Zealand Conway is definitely making up for lost time in fine fashion. Yes, it was a flat pitch but you still need the drive and grit to hang in there and keep churning out the runs innings after innings.

At one stage New Zealand were 234 for 1 so they will be disappointed to end the day at 309 for 6. They had the opportunity to really make day 1 their own but they blew their good position due to some good bowling by Pakistan and some poor defensive techniques and shots played by their middle order. Off spinning all-rounder Salman Agha had his best outing with the ball in test cricket picking up 3 for 55 in 20 economical overs.

On day 2 the blackcaps will be hoping Ish Sodhi can repeat his heroics with the bat from the 1st test and in the company of the well set Tom Blundell help them get to 400. Pakistan on the other hand will be keen to keep the blackcaps under 350 and then go big in their 1st innings.