Pakistan recovers to 81-2 after NZ bowled out for 274

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pakistan recovered from the early loss of its openers to reach 81-2 in reply to New Zealand’s 274 at tea on day two Tuesday of the third and final test.

Fast bowler Trent Boult reduced Pakistan to 17-2 by taking the wickets of Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez. But Azhar Ali (34) and left-hander Haris Sohail (30) led a recovery with an unbroken stand of 64.

Pakistan trails New Zealand by 193 runs with eight wickets still in hand.

Earlier, BJ Watling held New Zealand’s first innings together with a gritty unbeaten 77 off 250 balls as Bilal Asif wrapped up the innings just before lunch by claiming the three remaining wickets.

His 5-65 was the offspinner’s second five-wicket haul in five tests.

Resuming the day on 229-7, New Zealand debutant Will Somerville didn’t add to his overnight 12 but denied Pakistan a breakthrough with his staunch defense for well over an hour.

Watling showed some aggression against the fast bowlers and completed his half-century off 199 balls by guiding Hasan Ali to the third man boundary.

Watling, 42 overnight, also reached 3,000 test runs when he made 66, with only four boundaries, in a determined knock of more than 5 1/2 hours.

Asif extracted sharp bounce and turn off the pitch and finally got through Somerville’s defenses when he clean-bowled the No. 9 batsman.

Asif claimed the last two wickets in successive overs when Ajaz Patel (6) was caught in the slips and Trent Boult (1) was clean-bowled while attempting an ambitious shot.

Legspinner Yasir Shah didn’t add to his three-wicket burst before lunch on day one and still needs two wickets to become the quickest bowler to complete 200 test wickets.

Boult provided New Zealand early success when the out-of-form Hafeez edged low to Tim Southee at second slip before Pakistan scored.

Boult returned after the break and had Imam caught by Southee in the slips on 9.

But Sohail and Azhar combined to give Pakistan’s innings stability.