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26-Dec-2020 06:56:00 GMT
NZ v PAK - 1st Test, Mount Maunganui, day 1

Captain Williamson put New Zealand ahead

New Zealand 222 for 3 (Williamson 94*, Taylor 70, Afridi 3-55) vs Pakistan

Mount Maunganui: Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi-led attack tried to keep New Zealand in check but fifties from Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson gave the hosts a slight edge on day one of the first Test.

It was an eventful day at the Bay Oval as two wickets fell in the first session, followed by none in the second, and only one in the final one. The visitors had their moments but solid knocks from Williamson and Taylor put New Zealand in the driver's seat on the opening day.

The hosts went to stumps on 222/3, with skipper Williamson unbeaten on 94 and Henry Nicholls keeping him company.

At the start of the final session, they lost Taylor, who became New Zealand's most capped player across formats, but Williamson continued unperturbed and brought up his 33rd Test fifty. He equalled Stephen Fleming's record of the most fifty-plus scores in Test cricket for the Black Caps.

Nicholls, who starred with a 174 in his last Test appearance against West Indies earlier this month, also looked in good touch, making 42* runs from 100 balls. Together, Williamson and Nicholls stitched an unbroken 89-run stand.

In the morning, Pakistan's stand-in captain Mohammad Rizwan won the toss and opted to field first. His decision turned out to be a fruitful one as Afridi provided his side a dream start with two early wickets.

He first struck on the third ball of the day, when Tom Latham edged a tempting back-of-a-length ball with considerable bounce, straight to Azhar Ali at third slip, who fumbled at first but held on eventually to send the opener back for four.

Pakistan pace-bowling duo of Afridi and Mohammad Abbas kept the Kiwi batsmen in check. Their effort yielded another wicket with Afridi once again taking the charge.

Tom Blundell, who wasn't looking comfortable from the start, in an attempt to drive the ball ended up edging it in the slip cordon where Yasir Shah took a superb catch, leaving the hosts on 13/2 in the 11th over.

It could have been three wickets for Pakistan in the first session itself, but Williamson survived, on 18, in the 24th over when Shan Masood put down a tough catch at second slip.

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