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McCullum blitz subdues Pakistan

Craig’s seven-for and unbroken 198-run stand between its captain and Williamson helps New Zealand surge ahead

McCullum blitz subdues Pakistan - Cricket News
Brendon McCullum blasted 17 fours and eight sixes during an unbeaten 153 off 145 balls as New Zealand scores at over five an over to reach 249 for 1.
New Zealand took control of proceedings in the third and final Test against Pakistan on the second day – play was suspended on Thursday as a mark of respect to Phil Hughes – on Friday (November 28) in Sharjah, reaching 249 for 1 at stumps in response to Pakistan’s 351.
While it did look like cricket wasn't top priority as the community grieved the passing of Hughes, New Zealand surged ahead courtesy Mark Craig in the first bit of the day and then a blazing partnership between Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.
Craig, the off-spinner, finished with 7 for 94 – the best figures in Sharjah in Test matches – as Pakistan, who resumed on 281 for 3, was bundled out for 351 shortly before lunch. McCullum then blasted 17 fours and eight sixes during an unbeaten 153 off 145 balls, while Williamson was unbeaten on 76 as the two shared a stand of 198 runs at a scoring rate of 5.44. 
New Zealand, who now trails Pakistan by 102 runs, got to play only 45 overs as stumps were drawn seven overs before schedule due to bad light. 
The day began with the teams placing their bats outside the dressing rooms with their national caps on them to join the #PutOutYourBats campaign to pay tribute to Hughes. And even when they got back on the field, there was a noticeable lack of animation as the players even though the passage of play before lunch was rather frenetic.
Pakistan lost seven wickets for just 70 runs in the first session. While Craig took top honours, Ross Taylor also celebrated a milestone – his 100th catch in Tests – when he caught Rahat Ali at slip. That made him the second New Zealande player after Stephen Fleming to achieve the feat.
Misbah-ul-Haq was the first to go in the fourth over of the morning for 38 when he edged a Tim Southee out-swinger to BJ Watling, the wicket-keeper. But Pakistan was still on track for a big first-innings total as Mohammad Hafeez, overnight on 178, neared his maiden Test double century.
But an ill-timed slog sweep off Ish Sodhi when on 197 dashed Hafeez’s dreams and triggered a slide as Pakistan slipped from a commanding 311 for 4 to 351.
While Craig chipped away during the course of his 27.4 overs, Daniel Vettori, making a return to the Test side after more than two years, took 1 for 41 off his 19 overs.
That the total got past the 350 mark was courtesy a cameo of 25 by Yasir Shah, even as the last three batsmen failed to open their accounts.
New Zealand came out to bat with McCullum and Tom Latham looking solid. Latham chose to sit back and watch McCullum have a go at Pakistan’s bowling unit, and looked solid before Sarfraz Ahmed pulled off a stunning catch to dismiss him off Rahat.

Down a wicket with 51 on board, McCullum and Williamson got together and went about dismantling Pakistan. While McCullum was relentless in his assault as he brought up his half-century off just 30 balls, Williamson was quiet at the start. Soon enough, though, Williamson too shed his cautious ways and went after Pakistan, who was unable to find a way past the two. Eventually, the host resorted to bowling on a negative line but there was still no respite as the duo put up a 100-run stand in just 92 balls. 
McCullum targeted Zulfiqar Babar for the most part but when the left-arm spinner tightened his line, he went after Mohammad Talha. In fact, Talha’s final over of the second session cost 17 runs – 16 of which were scored by McCullum. McCullum, who had reached 98 with that blitz, picked up a couple of singles off Babar to complete his tenth Test century at the stroke of tea.
McCullum’s 78-ball was the fastest century by a New Zealand batsman in Tests. He went past Taylor's mark, off 81 deliveries, achieved against Australia in Hamilton in March 2010.
After the tea break, Pakistan’s bowlers were far more disciplined and began to contain the two batsmen, and McCullum took a relatively longer time – 59 deliveries – to bring up his next fifty runs. Williamson, who reached his 50 from 54 balls, also went into his shell as the lights dimmed and Hafeez and Rahat kept it tight.
The unbeaten partnership is New Zealand’s third-best stand for the second wicket. The record is held by John Wright and Andrew Jones, who scored 241 against England in 1992, followed by Geoff Howarth and Jeff Crowe’s 210 against West Indies in 1985.

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

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