'250 won't be a bad score' - Imran Farhat
At the end of a truncated first day's play, which began over two hours late due to a wet outfield and closed early owing to bad light, Pakistan were in an uncomfortable position. There were no hidden demons in the pitch, and a slow yet steady opening stand of 60 in 194 deliveries seemingly had Pakistan - who were put in to bat - on the route to stability.
The opener Imran Farhat, who contributed an obdurate 98-ball 32 to that start, did not entirely believe Pakistan had been shut out of the contest at 161 for 6. "The score at the moment is not bad, if you look at the conditions. If we score another 100 runs it will be good, because our bowling is very good," he said. "A score of 250 won't be a bad score. We still believe and we're still fighting. [Mohammad] Asif, Umar Gul and [Mohammed] Aamer are in form, we've got Danish Kaneria playing too, we expect a lot from him here."
Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan's captain, said he would have opted to field as well. The pitch did not appear to do too much, and Pakistan had four silly dismissals to blame for their predicament. Salman Butt took on a short ball, Farhat tried to run Vettori past slip, Shoaib Malik pushed uppishly to mid-off, and Misbah-ul-Haq, on his return to the side, fell slog-sweeping Vettori.
Farhat credited New Zealand's tidy attack for putting pressure on Pakistan. "We didn't have any such plan, we were just looking to be positive, be it batting or bowling" he said. "We started well but suddenly we lost a wicket, and then a couple, and we came under pressure. We survived well, and on this pitch you've got to concentrate. The weather keeps changing a bit, it was windy and there was a bit of moisture in the track on the first day. They bowled very well, put the ball in the right areas, and at the end of the day we didn't have many partnerships."
Umar Akmal had a memorable debut in Dunedin, following a century with a polished 75 in the second innings batting at No. 5, but here he was promoted to No. 3. There have been reports in claiming that no batsman was willing to bat at one-down, and that Umar was thrust into the position. The decision, said Farhat, was taken to accommodate Misbah two spots lower.
"Misbah-ul-Haq came back, and he's an experienced player who has batted at No. 5," he said. "The management knows that Umar Akmal can play at No.3, so it's a collective decision. It's about who is comfortable. He played very well. It's not a bad decision. He's willing and in good touch."