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January 16, 2011
Daniel Vettori was pleased with New Zealand's position at stumps on day two at the Basin Reserve after guiding his side to a competitive 356 with a composed century. He put on a 138-run partnership with Reece Young to rescue New Zealand from 180 for 6 and took advantage of a flat Pakistan attack, who were a bowler short after Wahab Riaz had been stricken by flu overnight. Vettori struck on the last ball of the day to remove Taufeeq Umar, leaving Pakistan on 134 for 2.
"[My century] was pleasing considering the situation we were in," Vettori said. "We were 170 for 6 when we came in and Reece and myself were able to put on that partnership. We thought 350 was a par score after winning the toss and putting ourselves in, so pretty happy to be in that position. Another couple of wickets tonight would have made it really nice, but it's pretty comfortable to be where we are at."
Vettori had failed to cross fifty in his last four Tests, and today's century - his sixth, was his first since December 2009. "People correlate form and runs. If you aren't scoring runs then you're out of form, but I've felt relatively good the whole way through, but it just hasn't worked for me in the last four Tests. It was disappointing because I set pretty high standards [for myself], so it's nice to get it back today."
Three of Vettori's centuries have come against Pakistan, who also happen to be his favourite opposition, averaging 47.15 against them. "I also have a 99 against Pakistan" Vettori said, laughing, "which Younis Khan actually reminded me of. We've played them when I happen to be in good form with the bat and we've played Pakistan a lot lately so it's just worked out that way. "4000 runs was my big goal. I'm thinking about 400 wickets now, I've sort of put the runs to the side. But people always remember Test match hundreds, so hopefully the more I can get, the higher I can go up in the echelons of New Zealand cricket."
Vettori and Young came together late on day one when New Zealand looked set to capitulate once more, but the pair arrested the slide and put on a gutsy display of Test match batting replete with canny placement and smart running to take the hosts past 300. "Reece and I have known each other for a long time," Vettori said. "We played age-group cricket against each other, so we had a good understanding."
Vettori was quick to praise Young, who is in his first Test series, hinting that Young's temperament and range of strokes could well see him filling the role of wicketkeeper-batsman in the long term for New Zealand.
"It's quite nerve-wracking being in your second Test and being under a bit of pressure, but I thought he played really well. He never really looked nervous, and it showed in the way [the Pakistan bowlers] got a little flat to him because he actually played some really good shots. That's important for a guy coming in at seven because you need a guy who can play his shots and can be aggressive when he needs to be."
Vettori also claimed he wasn't nervous when Brent Arnel was dismissed with him on 96 not out, leaving Chris Martin with three Umar Gul deliveries to face before Vettori could regain strike. "That's Tommy's onion - that situation. He never let's anyone down so I was pretty confident."
Martin Guptill took a terrific catch in close to dismiss Taufeeq, after the batsman had played intelligently for 70. Taufeeq had been caught behind off Vettori on 34, but not for the first time in the series, the umpires failed to detect an edge and Taufeeq was reprieved.
"[Taufeeq's wicket] made the day little bit easier," said Vettori. "It was a great catch and to be able to walk off the park [with the opposition] two down and a new batsman in just made things easier. We've got a big first session tomorrow that's probably going to set up the game if we've got a chance of winning it."
Vettori said he'd be satisfied with restricting Pakistan to 350, with his side set to bowl in the fourth innings on a pitch that is already beginning to show signs of deterioration. "If we can keep them to around our score then that would be great. We've obviously got to step up in the third innings and make sure we perform a lot better than we have and it will be trickier for them as the game goes on.
"It's a fantastic wicket. Guys love coming in and playing here on this sort of wicket. It's good for everyone. If you apply yourself you can score a lot of runs and there's a little bit in it for the bowlers. A couple of balls turned for me, so if we can put ourselves in a position where we can come out [to bowl] on the last day then hopefully I'll have a big say, weather permitting." Rain is forecast for Wellington on the last two days of the Test.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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