Millennium Post

Can Kiwis defy odds in Sharjah?

New Zealand hope their seam and spin bowlers will once again prove a challenge for Pakistan’s strong batting line-up in a bid to level the three-Test series when the third and final match begins in Sharjah from Wednesday. A bold declaration by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum in Dubai last week jolted the Pakistan top order for the first time in over a month before Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq combined in a half century stand to help draw the second Test and retain their side’s 1-0 lead intact in the series.

‘We head to Sharjah knowing that we’ve got an opportunity to win away from home, if we play a little bit from the standard that we operated (in Dubai),’ McCullum had said after the second Test. The slow wickets in the United Arab Emirates have encouraged teams to bat first, put up a strong first innings total and test the opposition with the reverse swing and spin bowling. New Zealand lost the first Test by 248 runs after McCullum lost the all-important toss, but the luck at the spin of the coin favored him in Dubai and the Black Caps notched a decent 403 runs total in the first innings. ‘If we can get 450-500 batting first then you can really dictate play,’ McCullum said.

Both seamers, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, adapted to conditions quickly and shared eight wickets in between them in the second Test after Pakistan lost only five wickets in the first Test. 
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