Kane Williamson. Picture credits: AFP/Getty Images/22122812
Pakistan vs New Zealand – 1st Test – Day 3: 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 440 for 6 in 136 overs (Latham 113, Conway 92, Williamson 105*, Abrar 3/143, Nauman 2/137)
Yesterday I said that Day 3 normally gives us an indication of which way the game is going but at the end of yesterday’s play only a brave punter would bet on the outcome of this test match. With 4 wickets in hand and a lead of 2 runs over Pakistan, New Zealand still have their noses slightly ahead. They might have to bat last on a deteriorating pitch to win the game though so it’s still even Stevens.
I also mentioned the importance of using DRS effectively. Pakistan used it
brilliantly to dismiss the well set Devon Conway on 92. Conway will be
disappointed on missing out on a well-deserved ton but it was a good delivery that
spun sharply out of the rough. Tom Blundell on the other hand didn’t review his
LBW decision. Replays showed that he had in fact nicked the ball onto his pads.
He probably didn’t realize it himself but with 3 reviews in hand and not many
recognized batters left to come they should have probably used one of the
Latham bought up his 13th test century to go on top of the list as
far as centuries by New Zealand openers in test cricket is concerned. He will
be disappointed with the way he got out trying to reverse sweep a ball which
was heading down the leg side.
Henry Nicholls and Darryl Mitchell added the much needed boost to the scoring
rate due to their positive intent. Positive intent on a turning track though
comes with its share of risk and both batters perished after being well set.
337 for 4 and still trailing Pakistan by 101 runs Williamson and Blundell had
two choices. They could have gone on the offensive with the risk of being all
out and giving Pakistan a first innings lead or they could have a safety first
approach to make sure New Zealand got ahead of Pakistan. With the amount of
time left in the game they chose the latter and made sure the blackcaps kept
holding on to the aces.
star of the day undoubtedly was Kane Williamson. By his own high standards, he
hasn’t had a great time with the bat for the last couple of years. But today
was the perfect setting for him. A tricky pitch, his team trailing by 255 and
the weight of captaincy off his shoulders brought the best out of him. He
scored hundred number 25 in test cricket after a gap of almost 2 years. Yes, he
was lucky on a couple of occasions but anyone who has played cricket will tell
you that luck has always been a huge part of this beautiful game.
all four results still possible in this test match one gets the feeling that
the 1st session on day 4 will be extremely crucial. New Zealand’s
lower order is pretty handy with the bat and how they support Williamson will
go a long way in deciding which way this game goes. Who said test cricket was