Bad light halts Pakistan's charge
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:University Oval, Dunedin
Scorecard:New Zealand v Pakistan
Player:SE Bond, Mohammad Aamer, TG McIntosh, LRPL Taylor, Mohammad Asif
Event:Pakistan in New Zealand 2009/10

DateLine: 27th November 2009


Pakistan took control of the first Test with a superb bowling performance and it will take either a brilliant performance from the Kiwi bowlers or the fickle weather to stop the Pakistani team from claiming the first Test.


The Pakistani innings did not last long as Bond continued his happy comeback into international fold by picking up a five-fer when Aamer played a half pull half-hook shot only to find Vettori at short mid-on while Martin got Asif to edge a perfect out-swinger to slips a New Zealand gained a vital 97 run lead over the Pakistanis.


With nearly 100 runs in the buffer the Kiwi openers would have fancied the chance of batting Pakistan out of the match but Aamer had other ideas. The wiry left-hander got one to nip back sharply into Guptill who played half forward with a huge gap between bats and pad only for the ball to sneak through the gap and flatten the middle stump. Daniel Flynn horror Test continued when an in-swinging fuller length delivery from Aamer trapped the leaden footed south-paw was plumb before his stumps to reduce New Zealand to 0 for 2 and the match seemed slipping from the grasp of New Zealand. That brought in Taylor and together with McIntosh began to resurrect the derailed Kiwi innings. The pair was a study in contrast: Taylor looking quite unsettled in the middle while McIntosh showing immaculate judgment of his off-stump. Taylor was constantly troubled by Aamer who generated pace, swing and bounce who looked quite lost and the testing period continued when Gul was handed the ball as he too troubled the right-hander.


Taylor realising the truth of the old axiom: “Attack is the best form of Defense” began to play some audacious shots. First came the old-fashioned slog that betrays the inner doubts of a batsman who is unsure of the way the ball would move and then continued unabated with some aggressive shots. Taylor’s stay at the crease was never short of drama as the right-hander always kept the Pakistani fielders interested. A chip over mid-off just sailed past a leaping Asif, a couple of streaky edges either landed just before the waiting slip or went through them but as his innings proceeded he began to look assured. The pair added 87 runs for the third wicket and Taylor was looking dangerous until an unfortunate run-out claimed the wicket of Taylor.


Then came one of the most bizarre moment of the day. Fulton was still to get off the mark when Gul produced a superb inswinger to trap the tall right-hander leg before but not before the batsman got an inside-edge onto his pads. The batsman had the right to go for the review but Fulton for some reason looked unsure. He lingered around for sometime before making his way back into the pavilion until he got the signal from the dressing room to go for the review but it was too late for the batsman as New Zealand continued to fritter away their advantage. McIntosh battled hard keeping the rampaging Pakistani bowlers at bay but finally Asif was able to win a leg before appeal from the umpire through a review and then took out the danger man McCullum with a jaffa.


Pakistan continued their spectacular fightback as they claimed the crucial wicket of Vettori who flicked a Asif delivery nonchalantly to midwicket where Alam took an easy catch. Asif continued to probe away and could have had Bond but for Farhat once again dropping a straightforward catch in slips. The light continued to deteriorate and finally the umpires offered the light to the batsmen who accepted it immediately. Though it seemed that the play was very unlikely to start the clouds cleared and a very disinterested Kiwi batsmen made it to the middle. Asif continued his dream comeback when he cleaned up Bond who unwisely shouldered his arms to one that went on straight. Once again the light went down and the umpires offered the light to the batsmen who accepted it without thinking twice.