Home boy Southee dents Pakistan’s batting on second day

Hamilton (New Zealand), Nov 26 (IANS) A sharp bowling performance from New Zealand pace spearhead Tim Southee coupled with two wickets in as many balls from Neil Wagner left Pakistan gasping for breath at the end of the second day of the second Test at Seddon Park here on Saturday.

New Zealand began the day badly, slipping to 119/5 before their lower-order took them to 271, and ended it in a commanding position, with Pakistan reeling at 76/5 and trailing by 195 runs at stumps.

Southee showed exactly how to bowl at this venue which is also his home ground, hitting a much fuller length than any of the Pakistan seamers — including Sohail Khan, who took four wickets — had managed.

He angled one across Sami Aslam, who played for swing when there was none, and nicked to second slip. He brought Azhar Ali half-forward and made him follow the deceitful curve of his outswinger. Then he floated up a full, wide tempter that Younis Khan chased fatally, leaving Pakistan 12 for 3 in 8.5 overs.

Babar Azam, seeming to read length quicker than any of his teammates, got right behind the line of the ball in defence, and punished anything loose, particularly anything cuttable or on his pads, while moving to an unbeaten 34.

The hosts, on the other hand, boast a more-than-useful lower order, which rallied around BJ Watling to rescue them after Pakistan’s seamers had taken three wickets for 42 runs at the start of the day’s play.

De Grandhomme began the turnaround with a 55-ball 37 that dominated a sixth-wicket stand of 51 with Watling.

Brief scores:

Pakistan (First Innings): 76/5 (Babar Azam 34 batting; Tim Southee 3/26) trail New Zealand (First Innings): 271 (Jeet Raval 55, BJ Watling 49 not out; Sohail Khan 4/99, Imran Khan 3/52) by 195 runs.