New Zealand 77-2 on rainy 1st day of 2nd test vs. Pakistan
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) Rookie opener Jeet Raval kept his wicket in tough conditions on the heavily rain-affected first day of second test against Pakistan on Friday to steer New Zealand to 77-2 when play was abandoned near tea.
Building on a strong debut in last week's first in which he made 55 and 36 not out as New Zealand won by seven wickets, Raval batted through all 102 minutes available on day one and was 35 not out at stumps.
He had put on 38 in a swift unbroken partnership with Ross Taylor which ensured New Zealand emerged from the day with a slight advantage after losing the toss and batting on a pitch, tailor-made for Pakistan's four-pronged seam attack.
Taylor, who will take a break from cricket after this match to have eye surgery, looked in his best touch for some time, hitting six boundaries as he dashed to 29 from only 20 balls.
Raval provided the anchor of the innings, batting through the dismissals of opening partner Tom Latham in the first over and captain Kane Williamson (13) to prevent bowlers entirely dominating.
Pakistan's new captain Azhar Ali had begun the day by winning the toss and was delighted to give his seamers first use of a bright green pitch at Seddon Park. The toss had been delayed 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 15 minutes before lunch.
They were unable to return as showers intensified through the afternoon and umpires Simon Fry and Sundaram Ravi made the decision to abandon play for the day shortly after the scheduled tea break.
Azhar became Pakistan's 31st test captain Friday when he took over from Misbah-ul-Haq who has returned home because of a series 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 (0) from the first ball he had faced.
Seamers Imran and Wahab Riaz joined the Pakistan bowling attack Friday as the tourists made the risky decision to omit spinner Yasir Shah who has been a prodigy with 116 wickets in only 20 tests to date. The pitch is likely to harden later in the match and a spinner may be necessary.
New Zealand added the left-armer Mitchell Santner to its lineup, also strengthening its batting lineup with his allround abilities.
Williamson joined Raval in settling the New Zealand innings after the early wicket and looked in good touch when he cover drove Amir for four in the ninth over. But he fell to a contentious decision when he was 13.
Pakistan appealed for a catch behind by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed from a delivery they believed had taken the inside edge as it passed between bat and pad. Umpire 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 as the ball passed the bat and Gould over-ruled Fry, leaving New Zealand 39-2.