Lunch Pakistan 115 for 4 (Babar 54*, Sarfaraz 4*, Bracewell 2-32) vs New Zealand
With the spinners finding success early on, Ajaz and Bracewell bowled an extended spell right through to drinks, but Babar and Imam looked to resurrect the innings with careful batting, finding the occasional boundary but mostly relying on soft hands.
However, Imam fell for 24 off the last ball before drinks after charging down the track to loft Bracewell over his head. He toe-ended the shot to Tim Southee at mid-off, a dismissal against the run of play since the early morning turn off the deck had reduced, and the bowling was looking fairly benign.
Babar and Shakeel, though, batted comfortably after drinks. While Bracewell continued with his tight lines, Ajaz’s return spell and Ish Sodhi’s first spell were both wayward. Both batters feasted on the spinners, first off the back foot and then off the front as they grew in confidence.
Babar, in particular, punished anything short from the spinners, using the width of his crease to shuffle back and make room when required. He made the most of being dropped by first slip at 12 and, with his seventh four, brought up his half-century in 76 balls.
Shakeel felt at home with the moisture drying up in the second half of the session, often using the sweep to get off the strike against the spinners. However, Southee returned for a second spell before lunch, tempting Shakeel to drive away from his body and earning his reward as the left-hand batter, on 22, sliced it to the gully fielder.
That brought in Sarfaraz, playing his first Test since January 2019 and his first ever at home. He was welcomed with a loud cheer from the Karachi crowd and his only scoring shot until now was a boundary down the ground off Sodhi.
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