Lunch New Zealand 119 for 0 (Latham 67*, Conway 51*) vs Pakistan
Tom Latham and Devon Conway piled up their second successive century stand for the first wicket, adding 119 until lunch on the first morning of the second Test in Karachi.
Both openers passed their half-centuries, ending unbeaten on 67 and 51, respectively. The runs came at a good clip too, with Abrar Ahmed and Naseem Shah proving to be particularly expensive for Pakistan.
Naseem had started the day bowling short and wide to Latham, who hit the first four of the innings when he actually went full and straight in the fourth over. That began a string of boundaries to follow: Conway hit two off Mir Hamza next over by driving and slashing, before Latham also cut and drove Naseem, capitalising each time the bowler went either too short or too full even as he had chosen to go around the wicket already.
Quick runs forced Babar Azam to shuffle the bowlers, as he had also introduced Hasan Ali and Abrar by the ninth over. But all that made little difference, as Latham continued to find the boundary off Hasan, who gave him the room to drive as well as the ideal length to keep flicking to the leg side.
Next over, Conway twice skipped down the pitch to Abrar, lofting him for four to deep midwicket and launching one for six over long-on, as Pakistan’s only specialist spinner in the match felt the pressure right away. The first 11 overs had fetched 54, before a quiet period followed, with Hasan tightening his lines, and Abrar slowing it down in the air.
But that calmness from the two batters lasted for only five overs, as both continued to target Abrar, who seemed to be bowling too full by then. Babar replaced Abrar with Agha Salman, but Latham pulled him through midwicket in the 19th over, before reversing a leg-before decision off Hamza’s next over. Umpire Alex Wharf gave it out when a good-length ball slightly nipped back in from outside off to strike him on his pads, only for replays to show a faint inside edge after Latham had reviewed instantly.
Two overs later, a frustrated Pakistan then reviewed a not-out verdict by Wharf when Conway was beaten by one that angled in off a good length, only for the ball projected to be going way over the stumps.
That summed up the session for the hosts, who had brought in Naseem and Hasan on a pitch with good bounce and carry. But New Zealand won the toss, and Latham and Conway justified the decision of batting first.
Pakistan made two changes in the team while New Zealand made one change.
In the first Test, Pakistan staved off a fifth consecutive defeat at home with a hard-fought draw despite career-best bowling figures from New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.
Sodhi grabbed 6-86 and threatened to give New Zealand victory in the first two sessions on the fifth and final day, but Pakistan fought on before declaring their second innings on 311-8.
That gave New Zealand a tough target of 138 to win in 15 overs, and the chase ended in fading light on 61-1, with Tom Latham unbeaten on 35 and Devon Conway 18.
Michael Bracewell was the only wicket to fall for three.
New Zealand, who abandoned their white-ball tour of Pakistan last year due to security concerns, are looking to end a run of four straight test defeats with Southee as the new captain following the six-year tenure of Kane Williamson.
Pakistan are seeking to overcome a similar slump, including a 3-0 home series defeat by England, in the two-test series against the New Zealanders.
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood, Babar Azam (c), Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Agha Salman, Hasan Ali, Naseem Shah, Mir Hamza, Abrar Ahmed
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee (c), Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel