At Karachi National Stadium: Black Caps 309-6 in 90 overs (Devon Conway 122, Tom Latham 71; Agha Salman 3-55, Naseem Shah 2-44) with Pakistan
Devon Conway made his fourth test century for the Black Caps, but they let a dominant position slip late on the first day of the second test against Pakistan in Karachi, finishing up at 309-6 at stumps.
Seamer Naseem Shah bowled two excellent spells on his return to the hosts’ lineup following a shoulder injury, removing Tom Latham after lunch for 71 and Kane Williamson after tea for 36 on his way to taking 2-44.
Conway fell between them for 122, becoming the first of part-time spinner Agha Salman’s three victims as he capitalized on the pressure built by Naseem and finished the day with 3-55.
The Black Caps collapsed from 226-1 at tea to 279-6 by the time the new ball was due after 80 overs, with Salman also bowling Daryl Mitchell for three and getting Henry Nicholls caught behind for 22 in his 50th test.
Conway and Latham attacked leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed early and didn’t let him settle into a rhythm, but while he conceded 100 runs in the day, he also struck to remove Michael Bracewell LBW for a duck and open up the New Zealand tail.
Ish Sodhi impressed with the bat in the drawn first test and was still there at stumps on 11, alongside Tom Blundell on 30.
Conway brought up his fourth test century just before tea, having shared a century stand with Latham and Williamson after Black Caps captain Tim Southee won the toss and chose to bat.
Naseem’s first post-interval spell of the day brought an end to Latham’s innings, when he was trapped on the pads with the bowler coming around the wicket from wide on the crease.
Williamson then joined Conway at the crease and they stayed together for almost 30 overs before the senior man fell.
At tea, the Black Caps had been on track to bat themselves into a position of true dominance come stumps, but Pakistan came roaring back strong, leaving the contest intriguingly poised.
The big moment
One brings two, as everyone who has ever fielded has said at one point or another. Wickets that is – and in this match it was Conway, followed by Williamson just nine balls later. The third session had looked like being a long one for Pakistan, but all of a sudden it was New Zealand having to reassess.
Best with the bat
Conway scored his fourth hundred in his 12th test and while he will have wanted to make it a big one, it has nevertheless set the Black Caps up nicely as they chase a third test win in Pakistan as well as a series win. It was the second time he had made 122 in tests – one year and one day after the first time, against Bangladesh in Mount Maunganui last summer.
Best with the ball
Whatever Naseem did at the lunch and tea breaks, he would be advised to do it again before playing resumes on Tuesday. After lunch, he had a spell of four overs, where he bowled three maidens and took the wicket of Latham. After tea, he bowled five overs, including one maiden, and took the wicket of Williamson. The pressure he built set up everything that followed.
The big picture
The Black Caps’ slump has advanced this match plenty and a result is now there to be grabbed by both teams. The partnership between Blundell and Sodhi will go along way to determining the size of New Zealand’s first-innings total, with Naseem likely to come charging in at them with a newish ball early on the second morning.