Babar, Shafiq takes Pakistan into the lead

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New Zealand grabbed the key wickets of Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail to push Pakistan back on the second day of the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

At lunch, Pakistan was 144-4 with Asad Shafiq (25) and Babar Azam (24) at the crease, trailing New Zealand’s first innings total of 153 by just nine runs.

The two have added 53 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket stand to bolster Pakistan’s bid for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Resuming at 59-2 Pakistan lost overnight batsmen Sohail for 38 and Azhar for 22 in the space of just six balls at the same score of 91.

Sohail was the more confident of the two, having hit four boundaries but was caught at short mid-wicket by Tom Latham to a loose shot off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi’s low full toss.

Azhar, who added 64 for the third wicket with Sohail, was dropped by Jeet Raval off Trent Boult when on 19 and was again lucky two runs later when given not out as the same bowler reviewed for a leg-before decision.

But Boult had the last laugh, forcing an edge off Azhar’s bat for wicketkeeper BJ Watling’s one-handed diving catch. Azhar hit just one boundary.

Left-armer Boult is the pick of bowlers with 2-29.

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