NEW DELHI: Pakistani skipper Babar Azam also continued his excellent batting form in the final game of the year, scoring a brilliant century to lead in the first Test against New Zealand in Karachi on Monday.
Azam hit the spinner Michael Bracewell for a six around the middle of the wicket to complete his ninth Test century. This is his fourth hundred test in 2022.
Pakistan were struggling on opening day and struggling on 115/4 at lunch, before Azam and Ahmed Sarfaraz added an unbroken partnership of one hundred runs for the fifth wicket to restart the hosts’ innings against the Kiwis.

Azam has already scored more than 1,000 tests this year, including four hundred and seven fifty. That purple spot also included his career-best 196 against Australia in Karachi earlier this year in March. Besides the two tons in Karachi, Azam has a 119 against Sri Lanka in Galle and 136 against England in Rawalpindi in 2022, making it the best year of his Test career.
New Zealand will drop Azam aged just 12, after Daryl Mitchell overturned a regulation hold at Bracewell. The tourists also failed to eliminate Azam on 54 when Devon Conway missed the stumps with the Pakistani skipper well below his crease.
The New Zealand spinners dominated the first session, with Bracewell dismissing Shan Masood for three and Imam-ul-Haq for 24, while Patel took the first wicket from Abdullah Shafique for seven.
In the penultimate before lunch, fast bowler Tim Southee fired 22-year-old Saud Shakeel to complete a successful session for tourists, playing their first Test series in Pakistan since 2002.
New Zealand’s decision to play with three spinners seemed justified, as the pitch at the National Stadium turned right from the start. Patel started play in just the fourth innings. He turned his third ball on an attacking Shafique and had him puzzled by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. Bracewell then knocked Masood down in second place before Haq missed and was caught mid-race.
It is the first time in the history of Test cricket that the first two dismissals in an inning have both been blocked.
Pakistan, who suffered their first 0-3 draw at home to England last week, have recalled Sarfaraz, Mir Hamza and Haq to the side.
(With agency contributions)



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