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Bridging The Gap
Spinners headline day one for Pakistan
  Monday 03 December, 2018
Spinners headline day one for Pakistan

Pakistan’s decade-long unbeaten Test record in the UAE was ended by Sri Lanka but the Men in Green still had a lot to play for as they took on New Zealand in the three-match series decider in Abu Dhabi, and Yasir Shah had a lot of fuel left in the tank after his proliferous returns in the second five-day encounter.

Debutante pacer Shaheen Afridi found the right pace when he opened the bowling instead of injured Muhammad Abbas and dismissed Tom Latham.

His new-ball partner Hasan Ali wasn’t inspiring in the first two sessions but he was eyeing the most prized scalp for later.

With just one wicket down, New Zealand did not throw caution at the wind and captain Kane Williamson together with opener Jeet Raval pushed the score forward before the introduction of spin.

Wary of the threat posed by Yasir, Williamson made sure he and Raval didn’t play too much at him and resorted to defending.

However, the Abu Dhabi pitch was not in the mood to let day one end without action.

The ball started spinning sharply and that was Yasir Shah’s cue. Three wickets fell quickly in a span of just five overs, with two coming in the 23rd.

Raval, followed by Ross Taylor and then Henry Nicholls all fell prey to Yasir’s spin.

After too much action to digest in the first session, Williamson and BJ Watling steadied Kiwis’ ship and didn’t lose any wickets in the second session.

Next came third session and Hasan immediately caught Williamson off guard and dismissed him LBW for a well-fought 89.

Bilal Asif, the hero against Australia in the previous Test series, then added cherry on top for Pakistan as he dismissed Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee in two consecutive overs to add to Sarfraz Ahmed and co’s dominance.

The series is level at 1-1 after New Zealand won the first Test and Pakistan bagged victory in the second.

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