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Hafeez unlikely to be recalled

HAMILTON: Tim Southee bagged six wickets as New Zealand took a 55-run lead over Pakistan on a rain-shortened third day of the second Test in Hamilton on Sunday.

Only rookie batsman Babar Azam was able to cope with New Zealand’s chief strike bowler and he was left stranded on 90 after running out of partners as Pakistan fought their way back into the match at Seddon Park.

Pakistan, after resuming the day on the ropes at 76-5, clawed their way to 216 in reply to New Zealand’s first innings 271.

New Zealand only faced one dot ball in their second innings before rain sent the players from the field for the third and final time in a day when only 38 overs were possible.

Southee was given a pounding in his first three overs of the morning and was removed from the attack after yielding 32 runs.

But he came back to wrap up the tail and finish with figures of 6-80, his third-best bowling performance.

“There was still a bit of swing at that stage and I went back to what we’ve done well for a number of years,” Southee said of his successful second spell.

“You’ve got plans you put in place for certain batsmen and it’s nice when they do come off.

“There’s a little bit there for the new ball, but once the ball gets older it gets a little bit easier to bat but there will still be a little bit of assistance throughout.”

While the 54-Test veteran headlined the New Zealand bowling performance, it was Babar in only his third Test who brought Pakistan back into the game.

The 22-year-old was considered a special talent at age-group level and announced himself on the international stage last month with three consecutive centuries in Pakistan’s one-day series against the West Indies.

He followed with a 69 in his Test debut against the West Indies and looked set for his maiden Test hundred when the Pakistan innings ended on Sunday.

“I’m thankful the lower order gave some resistance but it was unfortunate I could not complete my 100,” he said.

Babar also drew praise from Southee who said the way he handled the seaming conditions was promising for Pakistan.

“For a guy to come here in his first Test tour of New Zealand and play the way he’s played is a good sign he can play in conditions that are foreign to them,” Southee said.

Pakistan put on 124 for the loss of three wickets to be 200-8 before the day’s first rain stoppage just before lunch, with Babar patiently collecting runs while Sarfraz Ahmed (41) and then Sohail Khan (37) attacked the bowling.

Unlike the rest of the Pakistan top order who were caught behind trying to slash outside the off stump, Babar waited for loose balls in an innings which lasted 277 minutes and he faced 196 deliveries.

Sarfraz survived two chances in his 74-run stand with Babar. He was dropped on 19 by Henry Nicholls at midwicket, and Tom Latham missed a direct shy at the stumps when the wicket-keeper/batsman was trapped in the middle of the pitch.

The arrival of Neil Wagner to the attack accounted for Sarfraz when he was caught by Jeet Raval at second slip.

Sohail had no trouble with Wagner’s stock short-pitched delivery, repeatedly pulling him to the KARACHI: Mohammad Hafeez is highly unlikely to find a place in the national side for the upcoming Test series in Australia when the selectors name the Pakistan squad, sources told Dawn on Sunday.

Former captain and batting great Inzamam-ul-Haq, who heads the four-man National Selection Committee, has reportedly decided against making changes to the squad which is currently engaged in the final Test of the two-match series in New Zealand.

According to sources, Inzamam, who was in Karachi on Sunday, will consult Pakistan captain Misbah-u-Haq in Lahore on Monday before announcing the squad for the Tests in Brisbane (Dec 16-20 day-night fixture), Melbourne (Dec 26-30) and Sydney (Jan 3-7).

Hafeez’s lack of runs in the ongoing Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship and inability to bowl until he clears the ICC biomechanic test are the reasons that have gone against him.

In six championship games prior to the current Super Eight tie, the 36-year-old has accumulated just 287 runs for champions SNGPL.

courtesy: dawn news



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