HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) Pakistan responded to its perilous position in the second cricket test against New Zealand by coming out with all guns blazing Sunday, lifting itself from 76 for five overnight to 200-8 at lunch on the third day.
While Babar Azam played a steady anchor role to register his second half century in only his third test, Sarfraz Ahmed blasted 41 from 44 balls and Sohail Khan hit 37 from 47 deliveries as Pakistan turned defense into all out attack.
Babar was 81 not out and Mohammad Amir was unbeaten on four when rain forced the teams from the field at Seddon Park, eight minutes before the scheduled lunch break. While Pakistan was still 71 runs behind New Zealand on the first innings, it had the best of the morning session.
Article continues below ...
Babar and wicketkeeper Sarfraz helped themselves to 32 runs from Tim Southee's first three overs.
They put on 74 runs for the sixth wicket in only 84 minutes before Sarfraz was caught by Jeet Raval at second slip off Neil Wagner for 41. His runs came rapidly and included seven boundaries.
Sohail Khan then joined Babar and kept up the pressure on the New Zealand bowlers. He feasted especially on Wagner, hooking successive deliveries over fine leg for six in the 45th over.
Pakistan had blazed 85 runs at a cost of only one wicket in the first 1-1/4 hours of an extended morning session. New Zealand was able to slow the scoring rate in the second half of the session, allowing only a further 39 runs while capturing two wickets.
The rain that arrived just before lunch had been forecast and was likely to stay around for the remainder of the day.