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Kiwis in command as Pakistan falter

New Zealand gained control of the second Test after Pakistan lost two quick wickets before ending the day on 52 for two.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 22:16 IST

New Zealand gained control of the second Test against Pakistan on Saturday after the tourists lost two quick wickets before ending the day on 52 for two in reply to the home side's competitive total of 366.

The two men out were opener Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed as Jacob Oram and Ian Butler claimed a wicket apiece in the space of seven balls to leave Pakistan struggling on 30 for two.

At the close, Taufeeq Umar (13) and Yousuf Youhana (11) had put on 22 for the third wicket.

New Zealand resumed the day on 151 for five and a battling 82 from opener Mark Richardson was backed up by an attacking innings of 97 by all rounder Oram to wrest the initiative from Pakistan.

It was left to paceman Shoaib Akhtar to mop up New Zealand's tail with his fifth wicket of the innings as the home side were dismissed shortly after tea.

Shoaib had missed the drawn first Test in Hamilton but was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers on his return from a hamstring injury, finishing with figures of five for 48.

Shabbir Ahmed chipped in with three wickets for 87.

New Zealand had resumed after tea on 359 for eight, but Daniel Vettori was out in the first over of the evening session, caught by Yasir off Mohammad Sami for a carefully-crafted 44.

Butler was the last man to the crease for New Zealand and hit the first ball he faced from Shoaib to the cover boundary before edging the next delivery to wicketkeeper Moin Khan to end the innings.

Before tea, Oram had helped New Zealand take advantage of a tiring Pakistan attack and was unlucky to miss out on a century when he edged a Shabbir delivery to the wicketkeeper for his highest Test score.

Despite his disappointment at missing out on reaching three figures, Oram said he was happy with his performance.

"I sort of looked at the bigger picture and realised that a couple of partnerships I was involved in helped us get to a bit of a dream total last night," he said.

OPTIMISTIC TARGET

After Friday's play, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming had set an optimistic target of 350 but it appeared to be an unlikely prediction as first Richardson and Robbie Hart, then Oram, ground along at a slow rate before the lunch interval.

However, the final total pleased New Zealand coach John Bracewell after the side had struggled on the opening day.

"Stephen Fleming said right from the start that anything above 300 was going to be a pass score," Bracewell said.

"Pakistan bowled well yesterday under trying conditions which were probably foreign to them and it has made for a pretty competitive game of cricket and I think it's been a pretty intriguing couple of days."

Oram began very ordinarily before deciding to take on the Pakistan bowlers. His scoring rate increased and he reached his 50 in 107 minutes off 83 balls and hit nine boundaries.

His final tally took 199 minutes to compile in 159 balls, including 12 fours and one six.

Vettori, who scored his maiden Test century in the first Test, was an able ally to Oram, but assumed the senior role after his departure.

Opener Richardson was dismissed in the final over before lunch.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 07:23 IST