New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Wellington, 5th day January 19, 2011

Flying start and a sleepy finish

Plays of the Day on day five of the Wellington Test between New Zealand and Pakistan

The ominous start to the day
Having been defensive in the field for much of the fourth day and with a 1-0 lead in the series, it was always going to be interesting to see whether Pakistan would play for the draw or attempt to chase down the tantalising 274 on the last day of the Test. Mohammad Hafeez didn't keep the opposition wondering for long. The first ball of the day, a short, wide offering from Chris Martin, was walloped over the slip cordon for four. The openers at least, seemed to have one eye on the a 2-0 series victory.

Aggressive burst of the day
The New Zealand seamers too, came out firing on all cylinders as they attempted to make inroads into the Pakistan top order. Chris Martin began the morning with a heated debate with Hafeez, but it was Tim Southee who was the more visibly fired up new-ball bowler. His second over of the day began with two trips to the striker's end, as he stared Hafeez down in between red-faced remarks. He then hurled the ball at the stumps having fielded it in his follow through, only to hit Hafeez in the back of the leg - much to the batsman's chagrin. Southee finished the over with another long stroll to the opposite end as his teammates closed in around him to add a few words of their own.

Tortuous over of the day
Younis Khan made an excellent 81 on a day five pitch, but before he was set he underwent an agonising examination at the hands of Daniel Vettori. Vettori began his fourth over with an arm ball that struck Younis in line with off stump and seemed to be headed for middle and off, but despite the massive appeal, the batsman survived. The next delivery leapt up to take Younis' glove, but lobbed just over silly mid-off and three unconvincing defensive strokes later, Younis had his third lucky escape of the over, when he edged in between the keeper and slip to collect three runs.

Deja vu of the day
In an almost direct parallel to day three, Younis Khan was dismissed off the last delivery of the afternoon, just when Pakistan seemed to have laid the foundation to launch an attack in the final session. Just as in the first innings, Younis had made an important half-century, and just as in the first innings, he had batted out the entire session in the company of Misbah-ul-haq. He had been caught behind then too, as now, and perhaps the only difference was that this time he was dismissed by Southee, rather than Vettori.

Wake-up call of the day
Having batted out six consecutive maidens just after the tea break, the Pakistan batsmen seemed to be resigned to a draw. They had also put most of the Basin Reserve crowd to sleep. Asad Shafiq though, who had seen out 22 deliveries without getting off the mark, decided to prove he hadn't nodded off himself and danced the pitch to loft Vettori over mid-on for six. The next ball too, was dispatched to the boundary through backward point, adding to Shafiq's stunning infinity percent increase in strike rate. Misbah at the other end though, continue to bat as though he no longer had a pulse.

Attacking field of the day
As the Test was in its final throes, and Pakistan still 48 runs from victory, New Zealand had little to lose by crowding the infield. Martin's final over was bowled with an 8-1 off-side field. Three slips, a gully, a point and three short covers surrounded the batsman, and all eight men were located within fifteen metres of the stumps.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

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