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Pakistan in free-fall after bowlers fire blanks

December 6, 2018

Photo: AFP

New Zealand gained complete control of the series-deciding third Test with a double-century stand between skipper Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls as Pakistan bowlers were made to look uncharacteristically toothless by the pair.

The two came together with the visitors in trouble at 60-4, still trailing Pakistan by 14 runs, but completely took the game away from Sarfraz Ahmed’s men with one of the most memorable partnerships seen on these shores as they guided New Zealand to 272-4 at stumps on day four.

The duo rotated the strike perfectly and seldom allowed the pressure to build by ensuring that the score kept ticking.

New Zealand’s lead of 198 now means they hold all the cards going into the final day and can decide when to declare; effectively leaving the hosts in a situation in which the best-case scenario would be surviving for a draw.

The third and final Test has been a topsy-turvy affair in keeping with the rest of the matches in the series and it is fitting that it required two superb individual batting performances to finally tilt the balance of favour.

Earlier in the day, leg-spinner Yasir Shah dismissed nightwatchman William Somerville to reach the 200-wicket landmark in just 33 Tests — breaking Clarrie Grimmett’s 82-year-old record in the process — before Shaheen Shah Afridi also claimed his second wicket of the innings when he dismissed the dangerous Ross Taylor (22 runs off 14 balls) who had come out all guns blazing.


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