New Zealand 77-2 at lunch on day 1 in 2nd test vs. Pakistan
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) Newcomer Jeet Raval continued to prove his value to New Zealand as he batted through a tough first session to guide his team to 77-2 at lunch Friday on the first day of the second cricket test against Pakistan.
Raval took advantage of an early let-off, when he was dropped at slip while on 4 in the first over. He had reached 35 when lunch was taken 15 minutes early because of rain. With Ross Taylor, who was 29 not out from 20 balls, Raval put on 38 runs in 28 minutes immediately before lunch.
Raval made his debut in the first test at Christchurch, making 55 in the first innings and an unbeaten 36 in the second as New Zealand won by eight wickets.
Earlier Friday, Pakistan's new captain Azhar Ali had won the toss and was delighted to give his four seamers first use of a bright green pitch at Seddon Park. The toss had been delayed 15 minutes because of drizzle but play began on time and 21 overs had been bowled when the players were finally forced from the field by forecast showers.
Azhar became Pakistan's 31st test captain when he took over from Misbah-ul-Haq who has returned home because of a family illness.
The promise of the pitch seemed to have been fulfilled when, in a lively first over, Mohammad Amir found the edge of Raval's bat only to see Sami Aslam drop a simple catch at first slip. Aslam atoned for his error only two balls later when he held a second chance to dismiss Tom Latham without scoring and from the first ball he had faced.
Raval demonstrated good technique against a ball which seamed a little and swung in warm, overcast conditions. He showed confidence with an early straight drive for four off Sohail Khan, then a sweetly-hit pull to the boundary off Imran Khan.
Seamers Imran and Wahab Riaz joined the Pakistan bowling attack on Friday as the tourists made the risky decision to omit spinner Yasir Shah who has taken 116 wickets in only 20 tests to date.
Captain Kane Williamson joined Raval in settling the New Zealand innings after the early wicket and he looked in good touch when he cover drove Amir for four in the ninth over. But Williamson fell to a contentious decision when he was 13 immediately after drinks.
Pakistan appealed for a catch behind by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed from a delivery they believed had taken the inside edge of Williamson's bat. Umpire Simon Fry rejected their appeal and Pakistan called for a review by television umpire Ian Gould.
Hotspot showed no sign the ball had struck the bat but Snicko recorded a slight sound and Gould over-ruled Fry, leaving New Zealand 39-2.
Taylor, playing his last match before undergoing surgery for an eye problem, immediately went on the offensive and put pressure on the Pakistan bowlers. He attacked Sohail's bowling, taking three quick boundaries – two cut backward of point and another driven through vacant cover.
By lunch Taylor had his six fours while Raval had batted 102 minutes as the anchor of the innings.