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Twitter Reactions: Pakistan sneak just ahead after an attritional day of Test cricket

Bilal Asif was the star with the ball for the hosts as Azhar Ali held the fort with the willow.

Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The third and final Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand is nicely poised after two days of exceptional Test cricket in Abu Dhabi. The momentum swung in favour of both the teams during the second day before the hosts finally sneaked ahead, just though, by playing cautious cricket in the final session. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq batted really well as the Kiwi bowlers didn’t give easy runs with some tight bowling.

However, Pakistan didn’t get off to an auspicious start at all. They lost both their openers within the first few overs thanks to Trent Boult‘s new ball tricks. He swung the ball both ways and kept the batsmen guessing as Mohammad Hafeez and Imam-ul-Haq both went poking at the deliveries outside the off-stump. At 17/2, the visitors were firmly on top and a couple of wickets would’ve helped them gain an upper hand.

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But Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail accumulated some quick runs during a period which could be termed as a mini-counter-attack. But surprisingly, just before tea break and in the third session they stopped scoring runs and New Zealand looked to be in control of the proceedings. Tim Southee struck at that stage to reduce them to 85/3 with Sohail trying to cut a ball which was too close to his body.

But Ali continued to battle his way through to a half-century even as Shafiq kept on defending the balls profusely to not give any sniff to the opposition. New Zealand tried hard but they couldn’t breach the defences of the duo as Pakistan ended the day on 139/3 as they trail now by 135 runs in the first innings.

Watling and tail wags

Earlier in the day, New Zealand, as they usually do, fought their way with the tail wagging really well along with BJ Watling who notched up his half-century in the first hour of the day. The debutant Will Somerville faced a massive 99 deliveries to frustrate Sarfraz Ahmed and Co and scored only 12 runs. But he added a valuable 45 runs for the eighth wicket partnership with Watling.

Despite the tail-enders batting at the other end, Watling didn’t hog much of the strike with him and kept on taking the runs whenever on offer. The move didn’t work for the Kiwis as they were bundled out for 274 runs in 116.1 overs with Watling missing out on a well-deserved century. He was left stranded on 77 off 250 balls with four fours to his name.

Bilal Asif was the star for the home side as he registered his second five-wicket haul in Tests and returned with the figures of 5/65. The first session of the third day will be crucial now as it will potentially decide the fate of the Test match.

Here’s how Twitter reacted during the course of the day:

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