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Sodhi, Craig give New Zealand edge

Spinners reduce Pakistan to 34 for 2 at stumps, trailing by 369 runs

Sodhi, Craig give New Zealand edge - Cricket News
Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig grabbed a wicket each to help New Zealand maintain its advantage over Pakistan in the second Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium after the second day’s play.
 
At stumps on Tuesday (November 18), Pakistan was 34 for 2 in 19 overs, having lost the opening duo of Shan Masood and Taufeeq Umar, still trailing by a sizeable 369 runs. Younus Khan and Azhar Ali remained unbeaten on 1 and 4 respectively at the close.
 
Sodhi, the legspinner, and Craig, the offspinner, ensured New Zealand was in control after Pakistan’s bowling unit helped the visiting team wend its way back into the match earlier in the day.



Overnight 243 for 3, New Zealand recovered from early strikes on the second morning to finally post 403, thanks to resistance from BJ Watling and Craig first, and then from Tim Southee and Sodhi.
 
Zulfiqar Babar scalped four wickets, including that of Craig who had teamed up with Watling in an innings-retrieving stand of 68 for the seventh wicket. Ehsan Adil and Yasir Shah chipped in with a couple of wickers apiece.
                           
New Zealand resumed the day solidly placed, but Adil and Rahat Ali made inroads within the first 20 minutes of play, sending back Corey Anderson and Tom Latham, the two overnight batsmen, in successive overs to hand Pakistan the initiative.
 
Attempting a drive on the up, Anderson found Azhar Ali at cover. Latham, who was the only bright spot for New Zealand in the first Test, was also guilty of playing a loose shot, edging a Rahat outswinger to Sarfraz Ahmed, the wicketkeeper. Latham couldn’t add to his overnight score of 137, also his career-best Test total. He batted for 394 minutes and hit 11 fours and a six. On Monday, he had become the youngest non-Asian opener to make two hundreds in Asia.
 
James Neesham and Watling overcame a shaky start to add 33 runs for the sixth wicket, when Neesham was dismissed against the run of play, tamely chipping Shah, the legspinner, to short midwicket.
 
Shah could have had another wicket before lunch when Craig, on 9, put one high into the air but Rahat failed to hold on to the steepler.
 
Craig set the tempo early on in the second session, edging Rahat to the third man boundary in the first over after the break, and then hitting a straight one off Shah over midwicket soon after. Just as it seemed that New Zealand had clawed its way back into the game, Azhar broke through. Watling, who hit three fours in his 33, attempted to cut a turning delivery, only to play it to backward point’s hands. Babar struck in the next over when he trapped Craig lbw for 43.
 
Back on the field after the tea break, Babar brought an end to a timely 39-run partnership between Southee (17) and Sodhi (32 not out). A couple of overs later, he dismissed Trent Boult to bring an end to New Zealand’s innings.
 
In Pakistan’s innings, Masood and Umar looked comfortable against Boult and Southee, the seamers. Seeing that there was little in the wicket for the pacers, Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand skipper, brought Craig and Sodhi on early, and reaped rewards.
 
Sodhi got rid of Masood with a delivery that spun sharply after pitching well outside off and snuck through the batsman’s defences to knock over the middle stump.
 
A couple of overs later, Craig got into the action as he got Umar stumped courtesy a sharp bit of work by Watling behind the stumps.
 
Younus and Azhar played out the remaining balls to ensure there was no further damage.
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Pakistan leads the three-Test series by a 1-0 margin, having won the first match by a handsome 248 runs.

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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