Steady Williamson helps New Zealand to control Day one after early strikes


Mount Maunganui: Skipper Kane Williamson’s unbeaten 94 steered New Zealand to 222-3 in front of an organized Pakistani attack on Day One of the first Test at Bay Oval on Saturday.

Williamson alongside Ross Taylor had a good time at the crease as the right-handed duo consolidated for 120 runs together for a third-wicket partnership. The duo rescued the hosts at 13-2 after Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up two early wickets.

Taylor struck 10 boundaries and a six to score 70 runs off 151 balls. Henry Nicholls was the other batter who made an 89-runs partnership with his skipper. He remained not out for 42 at stumps alongside Williamson.

Earlier, Afridi removed openers Tom Latham and Tom Blundell in quick successions to reduce New Zealand to 13-2. Shaheen came back for another spell and removed Taylor to provide a much-needed breakthrough after Tea.

The 20-year-old Afridi finished with 3-55 at the end of the opening day while veteran Mohammad Abbas conceded only 25 runs off his 21 overs.

It must be noted that Pakistan is without regular Test captain Babar Azam, opener Imamul Haq and all-rounder Shadab Khan in this Test.