Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali both stroked patient half centuries after the loss of an early wicket to guide Pakistan to 134 for two in reply to New Zealand’s 356 at the end of play on the second day of the second Test at the Basin Reserve on Sunday.
Taufeeq blotted his copybook when he was dismissed on the last ball of the day, caught in close by Martin Guptill off Daniel Vettori for 70.
Azhar was not out 62 after he and Taufeeq had combined for a 132-run partnership following the early loss of Mohammad Hafeez for one, when he was given out caught by wicketkeeper Reece Young off Tim Southee to leave Pakistan reeling at 2-1.
Hafeez was unlucky to be given out as replays raised doubts as to whether he had hit the ball.
Taufeeq, however, was the beneficiary of not having the umpire review system in use during the series when he prodded forward to a sharply turning Vettori delivery and Young took a backhanded catch after juggling the ball four times.
Television replays showed he had got a large inside edge on to his pad before Young took the catch. It was the sixth possible decision that could have been overturned by the review system.
New Zealand’s innings had been boosted by captain Daniel Vettori’s sixth Test century, which was brought up amongst some tense moments at the Basin Reserve.
Vettori resumed after lunch on 79 but accelerated his scoring rate when he lost Southee (one) in the first over after the break and had just Brent Arnel and Chris Martin to come.
The New Zealand captain was on 96 when Arnel was trapped in front for one by Umar Gul and with Chris Martin striding to the crease to face three deliveries the crowd were wondering if Vettori would achieve the milestone.
Martin’s lack of prowess with the bat has attained cult status in New Zealand - he only scored his 100th Test run in his 60th Test and 87th innings last week, however he survived the three deliveries, even deflecting one to the boundary.
Vettori managed to sneak to 99 in the next over, leaving Martin to face one ball from Abdul Rehman, which he successfully defended to rapturous applause and Vettori tickled the first ball of Gul’s next over behind square to bring up his century.
He was eventually last man out, caught in the deep by Pakistani counterpart Misbah-ul-haq for 110 off Rehman.
Vettori had consolidated New Zealand’s innings in partnership with wicketkeeper Reece Young, who was dismissed for 57 just before lunch, caught behind by Adnan Akmal off Tanvir Ahmed to give the Pakistani wicketkeeper his sixth catch of the innings.
It was Young’s first Test half century in his second match and he had combined in 138-run partnership with Vettori after New Zealand slumped to 180 for six on Saturday and in danger of collapsing for a score under 200 after their top six batsmen had once again failed to capitalise on promising starts.
Ross Taylor top scored on the first day with an uncharacteristically slow 78 before he slashed at a full wide delivery and was caught by Akmal - one of the five catches he took on Saturday.
Pakistan lead the two match series 1-0 after a 10-wicket victory in Hamilton.
New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori scored his six century during the second Test against Pakistan in Wellington on Sunday. (REUTERS)
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