1st Test: Raval, Nicholls steady NZ ship after Pakistan’s 133

CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand debutant Jeet Raval scored an unbeaten half-century alongside batsman Henry Nicholls to put up a decent score for the hosts as they ended day two of the first Test against Pakistan on 104-3.


Raval was batting on 55 while Nicholls was unbeaten on 29 as they trailed the visitors by 29 runs. Opening batsman Tom Latham (one) and skipper Kane Williamson (four) failed to get into double digits before walking back to the pavilion. Veteran Ross Taylor departed for the score of 11.

For Pakistan, pacers Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, and Rahat Ali bagged one scalp each.

Earlier on in the day, the visitors folded for 133 in their first innings, with debutant Colin de Grandhomme taking six for 41.

De Grandhomme broke through the Pakistan top order before lunch and, in the first over after play resumed, dismissed Asad Shafiq, who had been rebuilding the innings with Misbahul Haq. He then mopped up the tail just before tea.

Pakistan openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali had made a promising start after being sent in to bat, progressing to 31 and seeing off New Zealand’s established new-ball pair Southee and Trent Boult in the first hour.

But their innings began to unravel when all-rounder De Grandhomme came on as a surprise first-change bowler. He removed Azhar (15) in his third over and then accounted for Babar Azam (seven) and Younus Khan (two) in quick succession.

Southee, bowling with more discipline in his second spell, had Aslam caught by Raval for 15 and Pakistan went to lunch at 88-4.

Four balls after lunch, De Grandhomme bagged his fourth wicket as he tempted Asad Shafiq to poke at a full delivery that was swinging away and Raval snared his third catch at second slip. It left Pakistan again looking to their veteran skipper Misbah to lead them out of trouble.

The 42-year-old, playing a record 50th Test as Pakistan captain, was the epitome of patience in reaching 31 off 108 deliveries before he slashed at a Boult flyer and was caught by Kane Williamson.

A fragile bottom order put up little resistance as Southee disposed of Sarfraz Ahmed (seven) and De Grandhomme removed Sohail (nine) and Rahat without scoring.

In addition to De Grandhomme’s six wickets, Southee took two for 20 while Boult had figures of two for 39.



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