KARACHI: New Zealand made light work of Pakistan on the fourth day of their first Test to coast to a comfortable eight-wicket win and gain a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
The Hagley Oval pitch had offered a lot of support for the fast-bowlers in the previous days but eased considerably on the fourth morning. However, Pakistan’s tail-enders and batsman Asad Shafiq failed to make the most of the conditions, adding a mere 42 runs to their overnight score of 129-7.
Chasing just 105, New Zealand lost opener Tom Latham for nine but Pakistan’s hopes of making further inroads were quelled by captain Kane Willamson (61) and debutant opener Jeet Raval (36 not out).
New Zealand thrash Pakistan in first Test
Defensive tactics led to the defeat: Rashid Latif
Former Pakistan captain and wicketkeeper batsman Rashid Latif feels the visitors’ defensive mindset cost them after they had bounced back in the match to restrict New Zealand to a 67-run lead in the first innings.
“The team couldn’t prepare due to the rained-off practice match at Nelson and, since the Hagley Oval pitch was so green, the batsmen can be excused for the first-innings collapse,” he said. “However, they squandered a great opportunity to recover in the second innings by meaninglessly occupying the crease rather than looking for runs.”
Latif feels the batsmen should have been looking to take the attack to the bowlers. “Attack first should have been the option rather than the plan given by [coach Mickey] Arthur,” said Latif. “New Zealand’s tail-enders and Sohail Khan were successful in doing so. Hopefully Pakistan will be better prepared for the second Test.”
Misbah to return home from New Zealand mid-series
Azhar to lead in Hamilton as bereaved Misbah flies home
Pakistan were further jolted in the dying moments of the game when Misbah left the field after learning about the illness of his father-in-law, who passed away a short while later. The senior batsman and Pakistan’s most experienced Test captain flew back to Lahore with his wife and has been ruled out of the second Test.
The PCB announced that vice-captain Azhar Ali will lead the team in the second Test, while no replacement for Misbah is flying out since uncapped opener Sharjeel Khan and batsman Mohammad Rizwan are already in the squad.
Pakistan batting once again loses footing against Kiwi pacers
Changes inevitable for second Test
The pitch for the second Test is also expected to assist pacers and Latif believes Pakistan need to play four fast-bowlers.
“Pakistan need to play four pacers if Hamilton’s conditions and pitch are similar to Christchurch — Imran Khan or Wahab Riaz can be included in place of Yasir Shah, while Mohammad Nawaz can replace Misbah and provide a holding option as the spinner for the four-pronged pace attack.”
Latif added that Sharjeel can also be brought in, with Azam dropping into the number six spot. “The second option in my mind is Sharjeel coming in as an opener with Sami Aslam,” said the Karachi-born. “Azhar can then drop down to number three while Azam can bat at six with Asad replacing Misbah at number five.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2016.
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