Matt Henry puts New Zealand in control of Karachi Test

Pakistan reach 154-3 in reply to visitors' 449 in second Test

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New Zealand surged ahead in the second Test against Pakistan in Karachi after a stubborn last-wicket stand and disciplined bowling effort on Tuesday.

The Black Caps consolidated their position by reaching 449 in the first innings, a score that was made possible by a century stand for the last wicket between bowlers Matt Henry and Ajaz Patel.

Henry made a career-best unbeaten 68 off 81 balls while Patel also notched his highest Test score of 35 as they added 104 for the 10th wicket and powered New Zealand past 400 at the National Stadium.

With the ball, the two struck again while captain Babar Azam was run out in a bizarre mix-up with Imam-ul-Haq in the final session before Pakistan ended the day at 154-3.

The pitch offered little to the bowlers, but Pakistan did themselves no favours by having skipper Azam, the team's best batsman, run out. Imam drove Michael Bracewell towards midwicket and saw Azam stranded at his end attempting a third run.

Imam was unbeaten on 74 and Saud Shakeel, who took nearly an hour before getting his first run off his 42nd ball and also survived a dropped catch, was not out on 13.

Shafique was the first Pakistan wicket to fall when he pulled pacer Henry's short delivery straight to the hands of Patel for 19. Shan Masood continued his miserable form, cutting spinner Patel to point fielder Devon Conway on 20.

The day had already belonged to Henry and Patel after they combined to lift New Zealand from 345-9.

Tom Blundell, 30 overnight, went on to complete his fifty off 103 balls with six fours before he was clean bowled for 51 by Abrar off a delivery that spun away from the right-hander and also kept a bit low.

Tim Southee (10) successfully overturned an lbw ruling against Hasan Ali but got stumped by Abrar before Patel hung in with Henry, who replaced Neil Wagner in the only change New Zealand made from the team that drew the first match.

Henry smashed eight boundaries and two sixes in his career-best innings, bettering his previous high against Australia at Christchurch in 2016 by six runs.

“Very happy with how we went about our work,” said Henry. “First and foremost was to score runs and try to press forward. And then once we got the field change, we tried to spend some time and actually put together quite a strong performance with the ball.”

Patel also bettered his previous Test best of 20 – against England last year – before he was the last wicket to fall, caught off spinner Abrar Ahmed.

Ahmed was the pick of the bowlers with 4-149 while Naseem Shah (3-71) and Agha Salman (3-75) were the other successful bowlers for the hosts.

Hasan had no success in his first Test since last July as he bowled 21 wicketless overs for 72 runs.

As was the case in the first Test that ended in a draw with the Kiwis denied victory on day five due to bad light, Pakistan have been on the back foot in this Test as well and will require a massive effort in the first innings to put any kind of pressure on the visitors.

“No doubt that last-wicket 100-run partnership was not beneficial for us,” Pakistan batting coach Mohammad Yousuf said. “It should not have happened but sometimes the last wicket becomes tough, it gets teasing and wherever you bowl they get runs. It’s not that they hit out, but they batted well.”

The is the second and final match of the Test series before both teams face off in a three-match ODI series, which will again be played in Karachi.

Updated: January 03, 2023, 1:26 PM