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Rahat, Babar secure 304-run lead after Latham ton

Rahat, Babar secure 304-run lead after Latham ton
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Fast bowler Rahat Ali’s rich haul of 4-22 helped to give Pakistan firm control of the first Test against New Zealand on Tuesday despite opening batsman Tom Latham hitting a fighting maiden Test century. New Zealand failed to cope with Ali’s reverse swing in a miserly bowled 17 overs of left-arm swing, and was all out for 262 late on the third day.

Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar chipped in with 3-79 as New Zealand’s top order found it tough in its first ever Test in the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan, which declared at 566-3, didn’t enforce the follow-on and stretched its lead to 319 by reaching 15 without loss at stumps.

New Zealand resumed from 15-0 overnight, and Latham escaped two tough catch chances early before hitting 103 off 222 balls with 13 fours. Corey Anderson made a rapid 48 off 70 balls with eight fours, but he and Latham fell to Ali after putting on 83 runs for the fourth wicket, New Zealand’s best partnership, during a brief aggressive batting spell in the second session. On his overnight five, Latham’s hard push was dropped by Azhar Ali at forward short leg, and on 32, wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed couldn’t hold onto a thick edge off Mohammad Hafeez’s offspin.

The left-hander profited from the two lapses, and showed lot of maturity in only his fifth Test since making his debut against India this year. Latham was bold against the spinners, and reached his century off 212 balls with a powerfully driven straight boundary off Babar in the last session.

However, Ali had Latham trapped leg before wicket soon afterwards, off a brilliant yorker, and later had Tim Southee caught behind for nought. BJ Watling (40) and Ish Sodhi (25) shared 43 runs for the ninth wicket, before Sodhi misread Yasir Shah’s googly and was clean-bowled. Babar then trapped Watling leg before wicket to earn Pakistan’s big lead.

BRIEFSCORES Pakistan 566 for 3 dec (Shehzad 176, Younis 100*, Misbah 102*) and 15 for 0 lead New Zealand 262 (Latham 103, Rahat 4-22) by 319 runs.
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