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The opening day of the third Test between New Zealand and Pakistan looked set for yet another mesmerising show by leg spinner Yasir Shah. But a cautious approach by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and some other batsmen at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi ensured there was no collapse similar to one during the second Test in Dubai.
As expected the focus of the match was Yasir Shah, who had scalped 14 wickets in the second Test and has 22 from the first two Tests and the Pakistan spinner did not disappoint as he claimed three early wickets to shake up the Kiwis before Williamson weathered the Yasir storm.
However, Yasir is poised for yet another five-wicket haul with New Zealand having three wickets at hand at stumps (229 for 7).There was also a maiden Test wicket for debutant Shaheen Shah Afridi as he snared New Zealand opener Tom Lathan. The batsman in company of Jeet Raval had provided the Kiwis as brisk start.
Later Williamson and Raval steadied the New Zealand innings before the Yasir magic shook the innings. Yasir had Raval trapped leg before for a well-made 45 and accounted for the next man Ross Taylor, who was all at sea when Yasir’s delivery disturbed the stumps.
Soon in-form Henry Nicholls was bowled around his legs by Yasir and suddenly the Black Caps looked disturbed. However, the cautious Williamson and BJ Watling ensured that New Zealand build a safe partnership.
With caution and stout defence the pair kept Yasir’s guiles at bay and the New Zealand skipper appeared like scoring a worthy century.However, Williamson was denied by Hasan Ali as the batsmen mishit the bowler to Asad Shafiq at short midwicket, falling 11 short of ton.
Two more wickets fell before debutant Will Somerville gave full support to Watling to ensure no more damage was done.Watling was playing on 42 coming off 180 balls and having only one hit to the fence. However, he will hope to add as many runs as possible with the tail-enders.
Both teams are eager to win the final Test as that will hand them the series win.
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