It was a day that belonged to New Zealand courtesy captain cool Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls. After being reduced to 71 for 3 in the first hour after lunch, the duo ensured that there were no further casualties as Kiwis finished the day on 286 for 3 and trail by just 9 runs.
Earlier the day started with a disciplined bowling performance from Pakistan. Shaheen Shah and Muhammad Abbas asked questions of both the openers, however they were not able to make early inroads. Tom Latham and Tom Blundell added 52 for the first wicket before Faheem Ashraf trapped the right-hander in front of the stumps. Latham followed shortly with a nick that bounced off Masood’s hand but Haris clinged on to it.
Just after the lunch, Abbas dismissed Ross Taylor and Pakistan were on top. It would have been 84 for 4 as Nicholls nicked one in the slips off a no-ball. Just like in the previous Test, Williamson absorbed pressure. At one stage he was 10 off 48 balls and reached his half-century on 105 balls. After that, he was unstoppable and Pakistani bowlers had no answers. He dealt pace and spin with ease and notched up his 24th Test century, his last 50 runs coming in just 35 balls.
Nicholls was tentative in the start as ball beat his edge many times but slowly gained confidence from his captain’s innings. He showed grit and resolution to counter the early burst from Abbas. Such was the ease after tea that both players added 142 runs in the last session.
Pakistani bowlers apart from the first session toiled hard. Naseem Shah was expensive as he leaked 72 runs in 14 overs. Abbas was as miserly as ever giving away just 37 runs in 20 over with 7 maidens. Shaheen and Faheem were also impressive and picke up one each. The debutant Zafar Gohar didn’t impress and wasn’t able to keep a lid on runs.
Pakistan find themselves in a big hole and will have to take quick wickets on the start of play to stay in the game. New Zealand on the other hand will be trying to pile on the misery and bat only once.