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Latham’s century gives New Zealand strong start

Opener’s ton is his second in as many Tests and helps take his team to 243 for 3 on the first day

Latham’s century gives New Zealand strong start - Cricket News
Tom Latham scores his second century in as many games.
Tom Latham brought up his second Test century in as many matches on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket stadium on Monday (November 17).
 
The left-hand opener, who had scored his debut Test century in the first Test of the same series, remained unbeaten on 137 as he carried New Zealand to a solid 243 for 3 from 87 overs.
 
Latham faced 258 deliveries en route to his career-best score, which was studded with 11 fours and a six. Corey Anderson remained unbeaten on 7 from 38 deliveries at stumps.
 
New Zealand, choosing to bat after winning the toss, got off to a flier with Brendon McCullum, the skipper, leading the way. He smashed the Pakistani bowlers for four fours and two huge sixes before holing one out to Shan Masood at deep midwicket off Ehsan Adil after scoring 43 runs from 69 balls.
 
At the other end, Latham took his time in getting a hang of things. He teamed up with Kane Williamson and the duo took the cautious approach to see out the tricky phase, which saw Zulfiaqur Babar and Yasir Shah, the Pakistani spinners, get some purchase off the wicket.
 
It was perhaps over-cautiousness that cost New Zealand a wicket as Williamson tried to defend a ball outside the leg stump and ended up misjudging the turn as the ball spun sharply to strike the off stump. That was the end to the 76-run partnership between the two.



Latham, nearing his hundred at the time, grew more cautious and countered the spinners by stretching as far forward as possible. It resulted in a few close shaves but he managed to make the most of the half-chances by bringing up his century from 192 balls with a single off Adil towards midwicket.
 
Soon after his century, Latham lunged forward and drove at a full delivery from Adil only to edge it to Azhar Ali at gully. Ali spilled the comfortable catch and the chance to shift momentum towards Pakistan.
 
Meanwhile, Ross Taylor too had to dig deep to ward off the Pakistani bowlers. He played second fiddle to Latham but his 71-ball, 21-run stay at the crease came to an end with around ten overs left in the day. Taylor, who was dropped on 11 at silly point by Ali off Babar, poked at a delivery outside off stump and ended up edging it to Shan Masood, who juggled a couple of times before holding on to it.
 
Pakistan took the new ball after 80 overs but the bowlers were unable to put any more pressure as Latham and Anderson hung in there to ensure that New Zealand would suffer no further setbacks. 

Please click here to see the full scorecard and follow live ball-by-ball coverage of Pakistan v New Zealand from Dubai.

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