ABU DHABI TEST
Cricbuzz Staff •
Kane Williamson stroked his 19th Test ton © AFP
New Zealand extended their lead to 125 – going to Tea at 199 for 4 – as Pakistan struggled to make any sort of impact in the second session on the fourth day in Abu Dhabi. Kane Williamson, who registered his 19th Test ton, scored an unbeaten 139 for the fifth wicket with Henry Nicholls to ensure the visitors bagged the session after losing two in the first.
One thing that’ll trouble Sarfraz Ahmed & Co. is four of the last five chases have resulted in losses at this venue and they also suffered a close loss in the first Test of the series. With the series on the line, Pakistan will hope to chase anything below 200 and hope there’s no panic as the final session progresses.
New Zealand started the session on 114 for 4 and scored 87 in the session. Williamson batted beautifully, and more importantly, kept the Yasir Shah threat at bay. Nicholls, too, after struggling against the legspinner in the first session, looked at ease and settled down beautifully to frustrate the hosts.
Williamson’s ton, the first in the series by a New Zealand batsman, couldn’t have come at a better time. The ball spun significantly and his innings helped the team bat out time, making the threat from their spinners even more significant.
The landmark came in the 66th over, when he punched Hasan Ali off the backfoot for a boundary. As the lead swelled, nothing seemed to work for Pakistan either. They lost their second review in the 43rd over when they went after a decision in favour of Williamson. Hasan Ali had pinged the New Zealand captain in front and replays showed the ball, having made the impact in line, was missing the leg stump. Soon after, they took the team past 150 and also raised the century partnership – off 193 balls – to cement their position just a bit more.
Sarfraz soon turned to Yasir to break the stand but the legspinner failed to replicate the same magic he created in the first session. There were no major hiccups for New Zealand in the session as the Williamson-Nicholls association continued to make Pakistan sweat.
Earlier in the day, Yasir became the fastest to 200 Test wickets when he dismissed William Somerville. The nightwatchman had frustrated Pakistan for 34 deliveries before he was trapped lbw. Ross Taylor walked out attacking every single delivery and raced to 22 off 13. He, however, failed in execution and got carried away as he pulled one straight to deep square leg off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi to leave the team at 60 for 4.
Brief scores: New Zealand 274 & 199/4 (Kane Williamson 105*, Henry Nicholls 54*; Shaheen Afridi 2-48) lead Pakistan 348 (Azhar Ali 134, Asad Shafiq 104; William Somerville 4-75) by 125 runs.