'Disciplined' Pakistan make New Zealand toil
Ross Taylor conceded that New Zealand would have to take note of Pakistan's steadfast approach and attempt to match them for discipline after a testing first day in the demanding conditions of Abu Dhabi. Pakistan openers Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad put on 178 for the first wicket, which turned out to be the only one New Zealand managed to take all day.
"We expected it to be pretty flat but it was a lot lower and slower than even we were expecting," Taylor said. "The boys toiled hard, had a few half opportunities but didn't take them but we've got to give credit to Hafeez and Shehzad, they batted very well... Another long day tomorrow, I guess, if we can pick up a few wickets with the new ball we can hopefully put them under some pressure.
"Pakistan batted very well and put us on the back foot with the discipline they showed. Our bowlers showed discipline but the Pakistanis showed even more discipline to be able to bat and not look in any danger. When we did bowl well for periods of time, they just soaked it up and asked us to keep going for longer."
Coming on the back of their comprehensive 2-0 defeat of Australia, Pakistan's good form continued after winning the toss and choosing to bat. New Zealand managed to keep on top of the run rate but saw several chances go to ground - a missed stumping of Shehzad when he was on 16 was particularly costly, as he went on to finish the day unbeaten on 126.
Offspinner Mark Craig was the unlucky bowler on that occasion and while he and legspinner Ish Sodhi got through 40 overs between them, they could not force a breakthrough. In all, New Zealand used seven different bowlers, including the captain, Brendon McCullum, bringing himself on, but Corey Anderson was the only one to have any success when he took a return catch off Hafeez.
"We had a plan and stuck to that for as long as possible but they batted very well and negated a few of the tactics we came up with," Taylor said. "I was very impressed with the way Ish bowled, he probably deserved a lot more than what he got. Mark Craig once again toiled hard but didn't get the rewards he would have liked."
Taylor was already envisaging an "old-school Test match" and said New Zealand would aim to inflict a similarly long spell in the field on Pakistan when their turn came to bat. "We know that we have to bat well in our first innings, if we can do that then it puts us in a decent position in asking Pakistan to bat again and see what happens after that," he said. "It is only day one, still a long way to go in this Test match but the boys are still laughing in the change-room and I think that's a good sign.
"As a batting unit we need to learn from the way the Pakistanis went about it today. It's going to be a long old Test, an old-school Test match where we need to bat long periods of time. Pakistan won this day but tomorrow's another day."