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Azhar and Sohail grind it out after early De Grandhomme strikes

By Opta
AzharAli rescued Pakistan with a gritty knock

Abu Dhabi, November 24: Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail set about trying to heal the wounds from Pakistan's Abu Dhabi defeat to New Zealand by making battling half-centuries on an attritional first day of the second Test.

The Black Caps won a dramatic opening match of the series by only four runs when Ajaz Patel trapped Azhar leg before wicket on Monday.

Colin de Grandhomme took two early wickets on day one in Dubai, but Azhar made 81 and Haris Sohail was unbeaten on the same score when Pakistan closed on 207-4 - with runs hard to come by after Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss.

Azhar looked to be heading for a 15th Test century before he was run out following a mix-up, boosting the tourists' bid to secure a first away win against Pakistan in the longest format since way back in 1969-70.

De Grandhomme (2-31) and Trent Boult caused all sorts of problems with the new ball and it was the former who got his rewards.

An out-of-sorts Mohammad Hafeez was the first to go, edging to Tom Latham, who had spilled a chance to get rid of Imam-ul-Haq in the slips.

Latham held on for a second time when Imam offered another opportunity flashing at De Grandhomme, reducing Pakistan to 25-2 before Azhar and Sohail dug their side out of a hole in a patient stand.

The New Zealand bowlers gave little away, just 56 runs scored in the morning session, and Azhar had a stroke of luck when BJ Watling was slow to react after Trent Boult found the edge.

Azhar played with more fluency after lunch, striking Patel for what must have been a hugely satisfying six over extra cover and reaching his half-century by dispatching Boult to the boundary.

Sohail continued to dig in and batted more expansively after Pakistan took tea on 124-2, but Azhar missed out on a hundred when he set off for a run and failed to make his ground after being sent back, Tim Southee whipping in the throw.

Mickey Arthur was clearly unimpressed when Asad Shafiq gave Patel the charge, but failed to get to the pitch of the ball and looped a simple catch to Neil Wagner.

Sohail cut Wagner for one of his 10 fours to reach 50 off 176 balls and he was still there at the close along with Babar Azam.

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    Story first published: Saturday, November 24, 2018, 19:30 [IST]
    Other articles published on Nov 24, 2018
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