New Zealand 356 & 11/0
Azhar Ali reached his 6th Test Match half century in his 10th Test after scoring a well played 67 in the first innings.
The young lad continues to impress and grow in stature.
Finally since dropping Malik, Farhat, Butt and Kamran and all these tried and tested Test Match failures, Pakistan’s batting is finally showing guts, determination, stability and authoritativeness. We are now successfully posting totals in excess of 300, something which was virtually unheard of during the English summer and before. Forget all this exaggerated aggression, stylishness and free scoring values in Test Cricket. Of course you might need the odd spark from time to time as if and when Umar Akmal returns, but I can now happily say that Pakistan’s batting is finally learning the art how to play Test Cricket the good old way which deserves our admiration and appreciation. The bowling may not be as potent as before, but will always stand a chance of being competitive and replaceable over time.
The venue for the 2nd Test is a wonderful picturesque sight
The Test at the Basin Reserve is interestingly poised. All 3 results are very much still possible. Here is my tactical input ahead of what is to follow on what should be an exciting day of proceedings.
Plan A) Attacking field setting trying to entice early wicket taking opportunities and still giving Pakistan a good shout of winning this. Seamers will need to come charging in with good intent, energy and motivation.
Plan B) Containment. If New Zealand get away early on and start pushing on, quick action is needed with a change mindset to uphold their advance and tie things up. Here Rehman would be handy with his guile, accuracy and nagging line and lengths. By all means do not go defensive too early on, but if this scenario occurs precision and thoughtfulness is required from Mr MBA Graduate.
Pakistan will feel confident and comfortable at chasing anything under 250 which is realistically achievable. Ideally, under 200 would be better as the visitors look to chase their first Test Series win in 11 attempts.