Due to persistent rain, the second and third sessions of the final Test between New Zealand and Pakistan in Hamilton was washed out on Friday (November 25). Jeet Raval cracked a measured unbeaten 35 to steer the hosts to 77 for 2 on Day 1.
The heavens opened up 25 minutes before Lunch and it continued to rain through the course of the second session. As the rain didn’t relent, the groundsmen weren’t able to clear the large puddles on the outfield sufficiently to facilitate the resumption of play. A few minutes after Tea, umpires decided to call off play for the day.
Earlier, after a rather nervy start, Raval batted in an uncomplicated manner to hold the innings afloat. When needed, Raval defended with a stout blade and as soon as he was presented with an opportunity, dispatched it to the boundary boards. The left-handed batsman played a few cracking drives and pulls during the truncated session.
For a while, Kane Williamson, too, blended solid defence and authoritative shots to navigate the tricky conditions on display. On a green track that aided the seamers, he was intent on showing measured judgment outside the off-stump.
Eventually, New Zealand’s skipper was dislodged by Sohail Khan. Initially, the decision wasn’t upheld by the on-field umpire, but Pakistan placed their belief in the review system. On replays, it felt as if the ball took the inside edge of the bat. The snickometer, too, confirmed the same. After a slight delay, the on-field umpire decided to change his decision in Pakistan’s favour.
Ross Taylor, who has been struggling with pterygium – also known as surfer’s eye, for which he was prescribed eye drops – played with a fair amount of aggression, with Pakistan not helping their cause by offering the batsman width.
At the start of the day, after opting to bowl in overcast conditions, Pakistan fluffed a couple of chances to let New Zealand off the hook. Raval was put down by Sami Aslam in the slip cordon of the very first over of the match. Amir himself dropped a caught and bowled chance to hand Williamson a reprieve.
However, Tom Latham wasn’t so lucky. The southpaw opener offered a simple chance off Amir to Aslam in the slip cordon in the left-arm swing bowler’s eventful first over and this time, Aslam pouched the catch. Pakistan dropped their ace spinner, Yasir Shah, for the second Test, while New Zealand were forced to bring in Matt Henry for the injured Trent Boult. Mitchell Santner also returned to the Test fold in place of Todd Astle.
Brief Scores New Zealand 77/2 (Jeet Raval 35*, Ross Taylor 29*; Mohammad Amir 1-15) vs Pakistan.