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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali rip through New Zealand to put Pakistan in pole position to clinch first Test

Leg-spinner and paceman shared five wickets apiece on Sunday as Black Caps were all out for 249 in Abu Dhabi

Pakistan bowler Hasan Ali, right, celebrates after dismissing New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor on Day 3 of the first Abu Dhabi Test on Sunday. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Pakistan bowler Hasan Ali, right, celebrates after dismissing New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor on Day 3 of the first Abu Dhabi Test on Sunday. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Hasan Ali said his first five-wicket Test haul will mean nothing if Pakistan do not go on to beat New Zealand after the paceman and Yasir Shah put the home side in a strong position to win in Abu Dhabi.

Hasan produced two doubles in the New Zealand second innings to return with 5-45.

He took two wickets in five balls after lunch and wrapped it up with two wickets in three deliveries to dismiss the visitors for 249, leaving Pakistan with a victory target of 139 after their openers had raced to 37 without loss at close of play on Day 3.

“Needless to say I am happy with my performance and most importantly to have Pakistan in a strong position,” Hasan said at the post match conference.

“I stuck to the simple plan set by bowling coach Ajju bhai [Azhar Mahmood]. Just bowled a tight line.

“We were confident of getting the breakthrough as we were bowling tight and not giving away runs.

“We always knew once we get the breakthrough we will definitely comeback into the match and that’s exactly what happened. Yasir took three wickets in two overs and it changed the course of the game.”

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Read more:

Day 2: Ajaz Patel revels in 'special moment' after claiming first Test wicket

Day 1: Pakistan hold edge after Yasir Shah spins out New Zealand in Abu Dhabi

Sarfraz Ahmed bullish about Pakistan's Test fortunes against New Zealanders

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A devastating spell of four wickets in 15 balls from Yasir turn the game in Pakistan's favour in Sunday's final session at Zayed Cricket Stadium. The leg-spinner returned with 5-110 for a match total of 8-164.

Bradley-John Watling, who top-scored for the Blacks Caps with 59 and shared a 112-run stand for the fifth wicket with Henry Nicholls (55), said there was no danger of the visitors rolling over.

“They still need 139 runs and we need to take 10 wickets. It’s a tough ask. We’ll come back tomorrow with more energy and good attitude to try and put some pressure on Pakistan,” he said.

In almost a carbon copy of their first inning when New Zealand lost six wickets for 30 runs, Sunday saw them lose six for 29 runs.

“In these conditions things can happen quickly,” Watling added. “I think we have seen a couple of good partnerships with our batting. We need to add a few more partnerships to stop those slumps.

“We seemed to lose wickets in a bit of cluster. Today was good as we had been struggling a bit out there and as we know it could happen quickly. I would definitely look to rectify that in the next two Test matches.

“I really didn’t feel like we put them under pressure today by putting up a big total.

“They bowled well through patches. We soaked it up nicely but not for long enough. This is Test cricket. We enjoy these challenges on different conditions.

“I definitely would like to have set a target of 250. That would have been something to defend but you never know.

“We’ll try to come back tomorrow morning and take a few wickets and put them under some pressure. That would be the plan.”

Watling said the pitch was playing well but definitely turning on the track and from the rough.

“It’s got a bit of low and slow as the game has gone on, which was to be expected. Let’s see what’s happening tomorrow,” he said.