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Classy Kane controls Karachi

Thursday 29 December 2022 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Classy Kane controls Karachi
Kane Williamson. Picture: Associated Press

Pakistan vs New Zealand – 1st Test – Day 4: Pakistan 1st Innings 438 all out in 130.5 overs (Babar 161, Salman 103, Sarfaraz 86, Southee 3/69, Bracewell 2/72) vs New Zealand 612 for 9 declared in 194.5 overs (Latham 113, Conway 92, Williamson 200*, Sodhi 65, Abrar 5/205, Nauman 3/185) Pakistan 2nd innings 77 for 2 in 31 overs (Imam 45*, Sodhi 1/17)

In test cricket when the bowling side has to take the third new ball you know that they are trouble. On a slow Karachi surface the blackcaps knew patience was the key and they showed lots of it on day 4 to bring the game to a position where only two of the four results are now possible. A draw or a New Zealand victory.

Picked primarily for his skills with the ball Sodhi showed that there is more than one string to his bow with a gritty 65. It’s not the first time he’s helped the team with the bat either. Sodhi and Wagner saved a test in Christchurch in 2018 against England to help the blackcaps win that series. Sodhi’s batting average in test matches is 21 whereas his bowling average is 48. If he can somehow manage to continuously reduce the gap between the two could he be the spinning all-rounder in overseas conditions?

At the other end Kane Williamson just carried on from where he left of on day 3. This was a typical Williamson innings. One in which he looked to be in total control. The double hundred seemed inevitable and when it came it was celebrated with the usual modest raise of the bat to soak in the generous applause. It seemed like he was saying “thanks guys but this is what I am paid to do.”

His IPL team mate from their Sunrisers Hyderabad days i.e. David Warner also scored a test double hundred at the MCG this week after a gap of two years. The celebration by Warner on reaching the milestone was very different though. The thing with respect is that the more you demand it the further it seems to walk away from you.

Pakistan has been in the field on days 2, 3 and 4 of this test match. However fit you are, 195 overs in the Karachi heat do take toll on the body. The Harry Potter look alike Abrar Ahmed has had a great start to his test career. He picked up a fifer but had to bowl 68 overs for them. I am sure the experience will teach him a lot about the rigors of test cricket.

Trailing by a massive margin of 174 Pakistan will require a miracle to think about victory in this game. Still trailing by 97 and with 8 wickets in hand Pakistan’s only realistic option is to bat all of day 5 and draw the game. The good news is that Imam-ul-Haq has got a good start, first innings centurion Babar Azam is still to arrive at the crease and even on day 5 the surface is not unplayable. History though tells us that when teams bat for a draw more often than not they end up losing.

Hopefully we get a result in the final over of day 5. Wouldn’t that be a great advertisement for test cricket?