Boult leads New Zealand fightback against Pakistan

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ABU DHABI: Left-arm pacer Trent Boult helped New Zealand foil Pakistan’s advantage with four wickets as the first Test was evenly poised after day two in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Boult’s 4-54 derailed the Pakistani batsmen who were bowled out for 227 in response New Zealand’s first innings total of 153.

He was well supported by debutant spinner Ajaz Patel (2-64) and Colin de Grandhomme (2-30) as Pakistan managed a first innings lead of just 74.

New Zealand then battled to 56-1 when bad light forced umpires to end the day with 4.2 overs still remaining. The Black Caps still trail by 18 runs with nine wickets remaining. Skipper Kane Williamson will hold the key for his team as he walked off with 27 not out and with him opener Jeet Raval on 26 not out.

The pair has added 56 for the second wicket after Tom Latham was bowled by Hasan Ali for nought in the second over, negotiating the spin bowling well under cloudy conditions. New Zealand can take heart from the fact that Pakistan lost a Test at this venue last year against Sri Lanka by 21 runs, falling short of a target of just 136. Pakistan squandered a good chance of taking a big lead through some inept batting, with only Babar Azam (62), Asad Shafiq (43) and Haris Sohail (38) making significant contributions. —Agencies

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