Monday, 18 October 2021

Williamson, Nicholls put New Zealand in control

IMAGE: Kane Williamson, left, is congratulated by Henry Nicholls after completing his century. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

ABU DHABI: New Zealand resumed batting on day five of the third and final Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

On stumps at day four, Kiwis reached 272-4 by close of play as skipper Kane Williamson cracked an unbeaten century as New Zealand took a valuable 198-run lead against Pakistan on Thursday.

Williamson was not out on 139 off 282 balls having batted through the day, with middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls keeping him company on 90 as New Zealand reached 272-4 at stumps to swing the deciding test in their favour.

However, Williamson became Hasan Ali’s first victim of the day on Friday as Pakistan seek wickets.

The teams are tied 1-1 in the three-match series.

New Zealand won the opening test in Abu Dhabi by four runs before Pakistan squared the three-match series with victory in the second test in Dubai by an innings and 16 runs.

Williamson and Nicholls scored unbeaten 212 for the fifth wicket to put New Zealand on course for a series win in Asia since 1984. Make no mistake, the ball misbehaved at times, the Pakistan spinners found plenty of turn to trouble the duo but it was the application from the two that stood out.

When New Zealand started the day trailing by 48, Pakistan would have hoped to chase anything below 100. But the partnership not only changed the course of the game, putting the visitors as front-runners to seal the contest, it also changed the narrative. By the time the stumps were drawn, New Zealand were more comfortable with Sarfraz Ahmed & Co. sweating over the missed opportunities during the day.

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