An unbeaten 94 by a gritty Kane Williamson had New Zealand at 222 for three in light of a joint Pakistani attack on stumps on the first day of the first Test at Mount Maunganui on Saturday. Henry Nicholls was the other not out batsman at 42 when New Zealand recovered from 13 for two after Pakistani destroyer Shaheen Afridi cheaply removed openers Tom Latham and Tom Blundell on a green, seamless wicket. In a 120-run score, full of determination and concentration in difficult conditions, Williamson and Ross Taylor pulled New Zealand back into the game.
Taylor hit 10 fours and a six when he attacked the bowling, while Williams was more conservative.
After Afridi split the pair with a masterful piece of bowling to remove Taylor for 70, Williamson and Henry Nicholls added an additional 89.
Taylor was set up to fall by Afridi who was full, shortly afterwards a bouncer in consecutive deliveries and followed with a good, rising ball that Taylor couldn’t stand to hack to.
But he only managed to bounce the ball to Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps.
20-year-old Afridi, with his baby face and six feet tall, also removed Latham for four and Blundell for five to end the day with three for 55.
Mohammad Abbas, while not taking a wicket, kept the batsmen pinned down, conceding only 25 runs from his 21 overs.
Afridi’s opening attack had New Zealand on two for 13 before Williamson and Taylor formed a century partnership together, their 10th together.
Stumps caused Williamson to endure 243 deliveries after being in the middle for everyone except the first three balls before Latham was rejected.
The closest thing to Pakistan came to sack the New Zealand captain for lunch with Williamson at 18 when Shan Masood threw a tough one-handed shot to his left.
Naseem Shah was the unfortunate bowler and the fast-paced teenager suffered again when he tempted Nicholls, at six, to only hook a short ball for Mohammad Abbas, waiting for the catch by long legs, to drop the rule opportunity.
It was a continuation of the luck Nicholls went on his way after being dropped five times on his way to 174 in his last innings against the West Indies.
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