March 29, 2023

innings Pakistan 408 (Shakeel 125*, Imam 83, Sarfaraz 78, Ajaz 3-88, Sodhi 3-95) track New Zealand 449 (Conway 122, Latham 71, Henry 68*, Abrar 4-149, Naseem 3-71, Salman 3-75

Ish Sodhi trapped No. 11 Abrar Ahmed on the last pitch of the first over of the fourth day to complete Pakistan’s innings. Saud Shakeel finished unbeaten on a career-best 125 – his maiden Test century – as New Zealand took a 41-run lead.

Shakeel took a single from Sodhi’s penultimate ball, and the legspinner threw one to Abrar on the fuller side at center and out. The ball just hinted to spin away as Abrar missed his push and was hit from the front. He judged out of hope rather than any expectation, but the decision on the field remained.

Sodhi finished 3 for 95 and Ajaz Patel 3 for 88. The field has had no demons yet with both teams aiming for an outright win after a draw in the first test.

However, on the third matchday, Tom Latham made two catches as the second Test in Karachi saw an otherwise tame third matchday end with New Zealand taking a flurry of wickets. Pakistan lost four wickets for 12 runs in a lower-order collapse in fading light, but Shakeel was still unbeaten on a solid 124 from 336 deliveries.

Pakistan had previously scored quite quickly in the second session of day three, giving them 113 runs with over four per over. That was largely thanks to Sarfaraz Ahmed, who hit an entertaining 78 to pile up runs on his comeback, his thirty-fifty in as many innings.

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Before that, Imam-ul-Haq missed a century for the second time in a row, falling for 83 as Southee broke the solid 83-run tie between Imam and Shakeel as he forced the former to play away from his body, with replays showing a faint notch at the end of the bat.

But both spinners Sodhi and Ajaz came into action as the third day drew to a close, giving New Zealand the chance for a slim first innings advantage. They got that advantage within one over of day four.