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Pakistan fight back in second innings to end day-four at 71 for three

Mount Maunganui, 29 December 2020: Pakistan were 71 for three in their second innings at stumps in their 373-run chase on the fourth day of the first Test of the two-match ICC World Test Championship series being played at the Bay Oval Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.

Azhar Ali was batting on 34 (117 balls, three fours) while Fawad Alam was unbeaten on 21 off 55 balls (four fours) when stumps were drawn for the day. The tourists had to endure a disastrous start when openers Abid Ali and Shan Masood perished for ducks after New Zealand had declared their innings in the second session of play.

Haris Sohail then became fast bowler Tim Southee’s 300th Test victim when he was caught at covers by Mitchel Santner for nine runs with the score at 37 in the 18th over.

Fawad joined Azhar and saw off the remainder of the day, the pair has so far added 34 runs in their fourth-wicket partnership.

Pakistan need another 302 runs on the final day to win the Test or would need to bat out the day to ensure a draw, New Zealand on the other would be hunting for the remaining seven wickets.

Earlier, New Zealand declared their second innings at 180 for five after batting for 45.3 overs on the fourth day. Openers Tom Blundell and Tom Latham provided the team a 111-run stand, Blundell fell for 64 runs off 107 balls, he was dismissed by Mohammad Abbas.

Latham (53 off 112 balls, three fours) became Naseem Shah’s first victim of the day. The right-armer Naseem added the wickets of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (21) and Henry Nicholls (11) to finish with figures of three for 55 in 12.3 overs.

The hosts called-off their innings with an overall lead of 372 runs shortly before the tea interval.

Scores in brief (close of play day four):

New Zealand 431 all out, 155 overs (Kane Williamson 129, BJ Watling 73, Ross Taylor 70; Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-109, Yasir Shah 3-113) and 180 for five declared (Tom Blundell 64, Tom Latham 53; Naseem Shah 3-55)

Pakistan 239 all out, 102.2 overs (Faheem Ashraf 91, Mohammad Rizwan 71, Kyle Jamieson 3-35, Neil Wagner 2-50) and 71 for 3 (Azhar Ali 34 not out, Fawad Alam 21 not out; Tim Southee 2-15)