Match evenly poised as Pakistan take lead
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:McLean Park, Napier
Scorecard:New Zealand v Pakistan
Player:MJ Guptill, Mohammad Yousuf, Faisal Iqbal
Event:Pakistan in New Zealand 2009/10

DateLine: 14th December 2009


After a bizarre morning where Pakistan lost their openers to the part time off-spinners of Guptill, Pakistan fought back superbly by first wiping out the deficit and then taking lead. Pakistan ended the day on 347 for the loss of four wickets with an overall lead of 99 runs. Yousuf played a captain's knock and was unlucky to miss out on a well deserved century. He was well supported by Faisal Iqbal and then by Umar Akmal.


New Zealand started the day on a bright note as Guptill of all the bowlers got the wicket of the openers. On the third ball of the day Guptill flighted one harmlessly outside the off stump of Butt (66) , who it seemed was still not awake, lobbed an easy catch back to the bowler who looked pleasantly surprised. Guptill was again in the thick of things after 7.1 overs when he foxed Farhat (61) this time as the southpaw spooned a full toss straight back to the bowler who collected his second Test wicket. It seemed that Pakistan was just one wicket away from a spectacular collapse but Faisal Iqbal and skipper Mohammad Yousuf held firm. With a flat wicket at their disposal all the pair had to do was just put down their heads and bat patiently.


Yousuf and Iqbal were circumspect as the duo went into their shell. Of the two Yousuf displayed a calm composure whereas Iqbal was troubled by Vettori who cleverly varied his pace and length. O'Brien and Vettori bowled well in tandem but the flat wicket meant that they were rendered ineffective. Vettori claimed the new ball as soon as it was available in the hope that his bowlers might use it to good effect. But the Pakistani duo put up a commendable performance as they blunted the Kiwi bowlers. The pair helped Pakistan to reach the second session without losing any more wicket. The pair then continued post lunch as they batted serenely without facing any trouble from the Kiwi bowlers.


Yousuf reached his half-century in 117 balls which included four boundaries and one huge six. Rain halted the game for some time but once the rain cleared both the batsmen opened up. Iqbal raced through his forties with a couple of boundaries and got to his fifty in 155 balls with a crunching cover drive and with it Pakistan took lead. Iqbal (67) then pressed the accelerator as he reeled of boundaries one after the other before Martin was able to get the edge of the batsman which was snapped up by Taylor at first slip. Umar Akmal survived some nervous moments but he got off the mark in style as he clipped Tuffey over mid wicket for a huge six. The youngster then proceeded to cut loose as he employed ferocious cuts and pulls to break free. Yousuf and Akmal added 57 runs for the fourth wicket before rain halted the match.


After resumption Pakistan suffered a jolt in the second over when O'Brien produced an excellent delivery to get the outside edge of Yousuf which McCullum accepted gleefully. Umar Akmal and Misbah ul Haq then ensured that no more wickets fell as they took Pakistan to stumps.


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