Butt, Farhat launch Pakistan's fightback
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:McLean Park, Napier
Scorecard:New Zealand v Pakistan
Player:Danish Kaneria, DL Vettori, DR Tuffey, Imran Farhat, Salman Butt
Event:Pakistan in New Zealand 2009/10

DateLine: 13th December 2009


After being nearly outplayed for almost two-and-a-half days, Pakistan fought back, thanks to commendable batting performances from openers Salman Butt and Imran Farhat who displayed immense patience. With the pitch easing out considerably they had little trouble in the middle though the going was slow.


Earlier, New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori and Daryl Tuffey began the day with confidence as they were rarely troubled by the bowlers. They quickly got into their stride, getting a couple of boundaries to get underway as the total got past the 400 run mark. The pitch had eased out completely with no demons in it as the bowlers toiled hard.


Mohammad Asif Finally made the breakthrough courtesy a brilliant catch from Umar Akmal at extra-cover. Vettori (134) drove hard through the covers but the flight of the ball was intercepted by a flying Umar who took a brilliant one-handed catch. Vettori, along with Tuffey, added 87 in 23.3 overs to swing the game into New Zealand's favour.


Southee fell without troubling the scorers as Kaneria trapped him leg before to claim his 14th five-wicket haul of his Test career. Tuffey and O'Brien then continued to frustrate the Pakistani bowlers as they put a price on their wicket. Tuffey got to his maiden fifty in 88 balls with four hits to the fence and one over the ropes as the lead stretched past 200 run mark. He played played some excellent shots all round the wicket as he pulled, cut and drove with panache.


Kaneria continued to plug away tirelessly as he finally had O'Brien (19) stumped when the tail-ender over-balanced when he tried to play a defensive shot and three balls later Kaneria collected his seventh wicket of the innings when Martin (0) was trapped plumb before the stumps to end the innings.


The Pakistani openers then made full use of the placid track as the duo of Salman Butt and Imran Farhat rarely looked in any sort of discomfort. With movement off the pitch or in the air the Pakistani openers were able to play through the line without any trouble though the going was slow. The Kiwi bowlers bowled a restrictive line and length and rarely looked like taking a Pakistani wicket.


They started off with a flurry of boundaries but the duo then slowed down the scoring as New Zealand went into a defensive mode quickly. Barring the enthusiastic O'Brien who ran in tirelessly and tried different things none of the bowlers bowled with imagination.


Vettori took over the bowling duties to try and create something but the Pakistani openers negotiated Kiwi's premier spinner without much trouble. The openers got to their respective fifties with Butt the first one to reach his in 126 balls while Farhat got to his landmark in 134 balls. In between the pair also put together 100 run partnership. Towards the end of the day Vettori tried to distract the batsmen by employing the gentle off spinners of Guptill and very nearly had the wicket of Farhat who tried to launch the part-timer into the stands but with no men patrolling the ropes the southpaw survived. Pakistan at the end of the day were 128 for no loss with 120 runs behind.


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