x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Martin defiant after collapse

Fast bowler Chris Martin still believes New Zealand can win the first Test against Pakistan despite a second-innings batting collapse

Fast bowler Chris Martin still believes New Zealand can win the first Test against Pakistan despite a second-innings batting collapse. New Zealand had slumped to 147 for eight when bad light ended play on day four and go into the final day at University Oval in Dunedin with a lead of 244 runs. "I think we may have let an opportunity slip today by not really batting them out of the game," Martin admitted.

"But I still think with the lead that we had [97 runs on the first innings] and the runs that we've got now the game is poised and it's definitely there for us to take. "Anything over 250 on a wearing wicket with variable bounce is going to be a big ask for them, especially if we do everything in a disciplined manner and turn up prepared to win the game. "I think we learnt quite a lot from watching them bowl on it today.

"They put us under real pressure by bowling real straight and making us make a lot of decisions and giving us very limited opportunities to score." While Pakistan pacemen Mohammad Asif (four for 41) and Mohammad Aamer (two for 29) caused plenty of damage - with Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Peter Fulton and Brendon McCullum all going for ducks - some of New Zealand's damage was self-inflicted. Ross Taylor, who scored a second successive half-century, needlessly ran himself out on 59, while Fulton failed to have the leg before decision against him reviewed even though he suspected the ball had clipped his bat.

He trudged off and by the time his teammates alerted him he was on the boundary edge and it was too late for third umpire Rudi Koertzen to intervene. "He was unsure whether he'd hit the ball," Martin explained. "It was a very fine edge and sometimes you think you hit your pad or your boot or the ground, it's hard to know. It's a new format and such a new part of the game that, like most things, it's going to take a while to get used to."

Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal said at the time he was not convinced Fulton had got bat to ball and he was just as unsure about which way he thought the match would pan out on the final day. He said: "I think it's 50-50. This wicket is behaving totally different to the first two days. There is more uneven bounce." He said the key to Pakistan's success with the ball had been bowling good line and length. "Bowling in the channel is also important and I thought the bowlers did an excellent job," he added.

* PA Sport