Pakistan 76-0 at lunch on day 5, 2nd test vs. New Zealand
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) The second test between New Zealand and Pakistan remained in the balance at lunch on the final day Tuesday as Pakistan openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali batted through a first session in which only 75 runs were scored.
Pakistan began the day at 1-0 after three overs in its second innings, chasing 369 to beat New Zealand and level the two-match series. At lunch Aslam was 32, Azhar was 36 and Pakistan was 76-0, still 293 runs from that victory target.
The Pakistan openers denied New Zealand the early breakthroughs needed to push for victory and a series cleansweep after its seven-wicket win in the first test at Christchurch.
Despite their relatively slow progress – the 75 runs were added in 36 overs in an extended, 2-1/2 hour session – their ability to keep all 10 wickets intact gave Pakistan a platform from which to launch a bid for victory in the last two sessions.
With a minimum of 98 overs to be bowled on the final day, Pakistan at least 62 overs left to score the 293 runs it needs for victory at a run-rate of 4.73.
Aslam had taken his 32 runs from 122 balls, and new captain Azhar his 36 from 113 deliveries.
Their patience suggested a draw is still the most likely result. A draw would give New Zealand its first victory in 12 test series against Pakistan; its first at home in eight series since 1985.
New Zealand's biggest hope for a wicket in the first session came two overs before lunch when Colin de Grandhomme had a strong lbw appeal against Aslam turned down. Captain Kane Williamson, after wasting a review earlier in the day, hesitated and took longer than the 10 seconds allowed to call for a review.
Replays showed the ball pitched just outside off stump and was going on to hit middle.