New Zealand, the current defending champions of the ICC World Test Championship, are playing Pakistan in a two-match Test series. In Karachi’s National Cricket Stadium, the first red-ball match is currently playing out to a draw. Pakistan managed to amass a total of 77 runs for the loss of two wickets in their second innings towards the end of the fourth day of play on Thursday, December 29. The hosts batted first in the match, scoring 438 runs in the first innings thanks to captain Babar Azam’s 161 runs, Agha Salman’s 103 runs, and previous captain Sarfaraz Ahmed’s 86 runs.
However, the visitors took advantage of the favorable batting conditions to score 612 runs in response to their large total. Former captain Kane Williamson led the Black Caps in scoring with 200. Throughout his time at the crease, he hit 21 fours and one six, remaining undefeated till the very finish. He received strong assistance from the first batter, Tom Latham, who scored 113 runs. Along with the pair, Devon Conway contributed 92, and Ish Sodhi added a 65, a career-high. In the current Test, New Zealand batted for more than six sessions, frustrating the hosts to the point where their captain Babar began asking for a second innings review in the first inning itself to get rid of NZ batters.
An amusing plea from Babar to the on-field umpire can be heard in a video from the fourth day of play that has gone popular online. He can be heard saying, “Give the second inning as well to us right now just.” (Agli inning da jeda review ae o menu de deyo hunae hi).
By the end of the fourth day of play, Pakistan had only eight wickets in hand and was still down by 97 runs despite scoring 77 runs in the second innings. The first Test can be won by the Kiwis if their bowlers are successful in getting them out on the final day for a little score. Given the current situation, Pakistan’s chances of winning the game are incredibly slim; instead, keeping the tie will be their first aim.