New Zealand’s star batter Kane Williamson slammed his fifth double century and shared a 159-run partnership stand with Ish Sodhi to give visitors an upper hand against Pakistan on the fourth day, gaining a 174-run lead before Kiwi captain Tim Southee decided to declare their innings here at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday.
Trailing by 174 runs, Pakistan finished the fourth day of the first Test on 77-2, with Imam-ul-Haq unbeaten at 45 and Nauman Ali on four.
Opener Abdullah Shafique was the first to sent packing as he was caught at mid-on for 17 after playing injudicious lofted shot off-spinner Michael Bracewell.
Then Shan Masood was lbw by Ish Sodhi for just 10 runs before Haq and Nauman brought the day to a close.
Earlier, Williamson and Sodhi batted for over a half-day, which proved frustrating for Pakistan. The pair only added 79 runs in the first session, but they set the tone that allowed New Zealand to pull ahead and take a healthy lead gradually.
Sodhi and Williamson were both at ease on a pitch that only offered a slow turn, with the rough patches remaining wide off the stumps. The duo were able to work the runs away comfortably as Nauman Ali wheeled away, trying to hit those patches to create some disturbance.
Ali came close to picking up a wicket when he hit Williamson on the pad on 116 and got his way with the on-field umpire. However, a closer look revealed that the ball had been pitched outside the leg stump. Mohammad Wasim Jr attempted to shape the old ball in and hit Sodhi with a full ball, but replays revealed that there had been a significant inside edge, ruling out a review.
Because the old ball lacked bite, Pakistan took advantage of the third new ball when it became available. Williamson peppered his steady knock with lofts down the ground to keep the spinners guessing. He made more shots with the reverse sweep also producing results despite being played off the rough.
However, New Zealand experienced a halt at the other end of the spectrum. Sodhi got a leading edge while attempting to loft a leg break from Abrar and was caught at mid-off, Southee also fell for a duck against Nauman Ali, and Neil Wagner gloved a sweep to give Abrar his fifth. Losing three wickets in just three overs for mere two runs threatened to render Williamson without a double century.
Despite Ajaz Patel’s eight-ball dismissal, Williamson managed a lofted six and a four over cover to pass Brendon McCullum to have the most double hundreds for New Zealand in Test cricket. It was also his second double century against Pakistan, and it was enough for Southee to declare at the stroke of tea. (ANI)
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