Pakistan leave New Zealand gasping
by Jinu Sabastian
DateLine: 4th December 2009
If the first day belonged to New Zealand, Pakistan can emphatically claim the second day as theirs as they put up a clinical performance to stun New Zealand. First it was Kamran Akmal as he helped Pakistan to put up a good score in the first innings and then the Pakistani bowlers ripped apart the fragile Kiwi batting line-up to hand their team the advantage.
Pakistan began the day at their overnight score of 161 for the loss of six wickets and may expected them to be rolled over quickly. But Kamran Akmal and the tailenders held fort admirably to stave off a Bond-less Kiwi attack to pose a challenging total. Kamran got the innings underway with a cover-drive of Martin in the first over of the day and Aamer joined his partner to wallop Tuffey for a boundary in the very next over. Aamer got a life when he was dropped by Taylor at first slip when Tuffey was able to induce an out-side edge but young southpaw did not survive long when a hard-working O’Brien got Aamer (21) to edge one to Taylor who held onto the catch this time. Kamran meanwhile was slowly picking up pace as he mixed caution with aggression excellently to push the Pakistani score to respectability. He found an unexpected ally in Umar Gul who hung around gamely and even played some aggressive shots of his own. The pair frustrated the Kiwi bowlers with their batting and once the new ball was taken the duo pressed the accelerator. There was no swing to speak about and the Pakistani batsmen were able to hit through the line.
Gul cut Tuffey twice to bring up the 50 partnership and then pulled a bouncer from Chris Martin high over square leg to bring up the 250. Kamran (70) fell against the run of play when Vettori at mid-off held onto a lame chip from the keeper-batsmen. Vettori then returned to remove Mohammad Asif (4) with a sharp return catch while Tuffey got rid off Gul (31) with a short ball.
New Zealand continued the trend of losing their first wicket when Guptill (0) was forced to have a waft at an out swinger from Aamer as the Kiwis found themselves at 1 for 1 just before lunch. The Kiwi batsmen continued to struggle against the swing and cut that the Pakistani opening bowlers were able generate and Asif got rid of the other opener McIntosh (4) via a catch at short-leg. Taylor did what he knows the best as he counter-attacked superbly. Taylor and Flynn offered some respite to the Kiwi camp as they added 47 before an erroneous judgment from the former did him in. Fulton’s (0) horror run when Gul pinned him in the crease as New Zealand tumbled. Flynn and Elliot battled hard to keep the Pakistani pacers at bay and when Yousuf saw that the pair was at ease he brought on Kaneria in the 26th over.
After tea both the Kiwi batsmen survived some anxious moments as there were two loud leg before appeals but were over-turned. But then began a carnage that was stunning. Flynn (29) was trapped leg before by an in-dipper by an accurate Asif and then of the next ball McCullum (0) played a loose shot and edged to Malik at second slip as New Zealand floundered at 85 for 6. Kaneria then got into the act when he induced Elliot (20), who was looking solid at the other end a return catch to the bowler. A shuffling Vettori (6) edged a straighter one from Kaneria to slips and couple of balls later it was evident that O'Brien (0) left his brain in the dressing room when he played an atrocious swipe across the line-up to top edge at covers. Asif then wrapped up the innings when Tuffey (3) going for quick runs pulled a short ball from Asif straight to Yousuf at mid-on.
The Pakistani opening pair looked more aggressive than the last time as they looked quite comfortable in the middle. Farhat and Butt matched stroke for stroke as they raced away. When the bowlers erred in line and length the duo were quick to dispatch it to the boundary and Farhat slog-swept Vettori for a huge six over mid-wicket. The pair added 49 in 16.4 overs before an aggressive O'Brien put brakes on the scoring. He directed a couple of well-directed bouncers before a ferocious bouncer from O'Brien forced Butt to take an evasive action only to glove it to Taylor at first slip. O'Brien continued to dish out the bouncers before a hurling in a fuller length at Farhat who was slow onto his front-foot and edged to Fulton at third slip. Yousuf survived some horrid time against O'Brien before umpire called stumps. Pakistan had scored 64 for 2 in the second innings with an overall lead of 229 runs.