NZ vs PAK, 1st Test: Tim Southee leads New Zealand charge for having Pakistan on the ropes on Day 4

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Swing king fast bowler Tim Southee celebrated his milestone 300th wicket as New Zealand felt victory over Pakistan by stumps on day four of the first Test at Mount Maunganui on Tuesday. New Zealand declared their second innings at 180 for five and Pakistan, with an unlikely goal of 373, will go into the final day at 71 for three. Azhar Ali resumes at 34 and Fawad Alam at 21.

The Black Caps must win the two Test series to compete for the final of the World Test Championship at Lords in June.

In New Zealand’s second innings, the Pakistani quicks struggled to get any help from the wicket on day four, but Southee and Trent Boult immediately let the ball dance to their tune.

Abid Ali fended off a surging Boult delivery and got behind, while Shan Masood was caught in Southee’s first slip and Pakistan was two down for no runs after 14 deliveries.

Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail provided some resistance for 15 overs and 37 runs before Sohail moved Southee to Mitchell Santner on short cover – leaving Southee only the third New Zealander, after Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori, who dropped 300 Test wickets.

But Southee said the memorial delivery was not the one he was looking for.

“I would have liked one to be thrown and thrown away and stuck behind me,” he said.

“But the surface clearly dictates what you’re trying to achieve and the wicket is clearly a bit slower, so those catches for the wicket are going to be important.”

Southee said the goal now was to extend New Zealand’s 15-game unbeaten streak on home pitches.

“The boys will recover well tonight and have the chance to achieve something special tomorrow.”

For Pakistan, much depends on Azhar Ali staying in the fold from a deteriorating wicket if they are to avoid defeat.

“Obviously, losing three wickets doesn’t help,” the batsman said.

“You’ve seen some balls stay low and it (the pitch) gets slower, so it’s hard to time the ball.

“It will be a challenge and all we can do is focus on playing the ball on merit as much as possible.”

Southee has two for 15 and Boult one for 24. Neil Wagner, who was thought to have broken a toe while hitting on Sunday but has now been diagnosed with a second broken toe, was sent down six overs to not having one for four.

– Wickets fall –

New Zealand started its second innings at the start of the day with Tom Latham and Tom Blundell reaching 98 in the first session.

Mohammad Abbas briefly troubled Latham, who sent three sides towards the briefs, while a loud lbw appeal against Blundell was dismissed and the TV referee was unable to discern whether the ball hit the bat or cushion first.

Otherwise, the batsmen were unconcerned, until after lunch when it was clear that the statement was approaching and New Zealand dropped their risk-free approach and the wickets fell as the total soared.

Blundell was thrown for 64 when he tried to plod Abbas over midwicket and New Zealand was 111 for 1.

Eleven overs later, they were five to 170 when Pakistan bought wickets with a short ball approach.

Latham, who had enjoyed one and two, opened with a textbook cover to the frontier to reach his 20th half-century.

He was fired for 53 shortly afterwards when he missed a pull shot and was caught in the depth.

Kane Williamson’s pull shot attempt was from above to wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan and he was out for 21, while Henry Nicholls went for 11 when his pull shot was caught by Abbas with a fine leg.

Promoted

For Pakistan, Naseem Shah was the most effective bowler with three for 55.

Regardless of that, New Zealand fast Kyle Jamieson was fined 25 percent of his match fee for a dangerous pitch to batsman Faheen Ashraf on Monday.

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