Tom Latham and Kane Williamson steadied New Zealand for an overall lead of 117 runs after Devon Conway was out for a golden duck on the fourth day of the second test against Pakistan on Thursday.
Leftarm fast bowler Mir Hamza finally picked up his first test wicket in four years when he had first-innings century-maker Conway clean bowled off the first ball after New Zealand took a 41-run first-innings lead and dismissed Pakistan for 408.
Hamza was wicketless in the drawn first test last week in his hometown after being recalled for New Zealand’s first test tour to Pakistan in 20 years since last playing against Australia at Abu Dhabi in 2018.
But after Hamza’s early strike New Zealand swiftly moved to 76-1 in its second innings by lunch in an eventful first session that saw leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed coming close three times to get the breakthrough.
Latham successfully overturned on-field umpire Alex Wharf’s lbw ruling against the bespectacled 24-year-old leg-spinner late in the first session to remain unbeaten on 37 as Pakistan also wasted two leg before wicket referrals against Kane Williamson, who was not out on 29.
Williamson and Latham both batted with patience against the pace on a wicket which still looks good for batting with only odd ball keeping low and there’s hardly any turn for the spinners.
Latham dominated the spinners with his sweep shots and hit four of his seven boundaries against Agha Salman and Abrar Ahmed while Williamson, who made unbeaten 200 in the drawn first test, also looked solid.
Legspinner Ish Sodhi (3-95) had earlier wrapped up Pakistan innings for 408 in the first over when he had No. 11 Abrar Ahmed trapped leg before wicket after Pakistan resumed on 407-9.
Pakistan narrowed down the deficit mainly through Saud Shakeel’s marathon unbeaten knock of 125 off 341 balls as the lefthander spent eight hours and 13 minutes in a his maiden conventional-style test century which featured 17 fours.
Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel picked up 3-88 as he and Sodhi ran through the tail-enders late on Day 3 before Pakistan eventually lost its last five wickets for 23 runs.