2nd Test: Williamson, Nicholls put NZ in command against Pak (Lead)

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Christchurch, Jan 4 (IANS) New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Monday continued with his dream run with the bat as he scored yet another century to put the hosts in a commanding position in the ongoing second Test against Pakistan at the Hagley Oval.

On Day Two of the Test match, Williamson batted in his classic fashion to ease to his 24th Test century — and first at Hagley Oval. And, along with Henry Nicholls, the number one ranked Test batsman turned a precarious position into a dominant one in Christchurch as New Zealand ended the day at 286/3.

After bowling out Pakistan for 297 on the first day itself, the Black Caps didn’t have a great start to their first innings on Monday as Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas bowled beautifully on a pitch that had some help and had New Zealand in trouble at 71/3 at one stage.

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Openers Tom Latham (33) and Tom Blundell (16) safely negotiated the first 90 minutes of the day but both succumbed before Lunch. Ross Taylor, who came to bat at number four, also didn’t stay long as he went back to the dressing room after contributing 12 runs to New Zealand’s score.

The score should have been 74/4 if not for that dreaded no-ball which gave Nicholls a reprieve and changed the complexion of the game.

After that incident, however, there was no looking back for the hosts as Williamson and Nicholls initially batted with patience against the Pakistan bowlers, especially Afridi, then steadied the ship and later on changed gears to put the hosts in a strong position.

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The duo stitched together an unbeaten 215-run partnership for the fourth wicket and made sure the visitors didn’t have the upper hand at the end of the day’s play.

At Stumps, Williamson was unbeaten on 112 and Nicholls on 89 and New Zealand trailed by 11 runs in response to 297 compiled by Pakistan on the first day.

Brief scores: New Zealand 286/3 at Stumps on Day 2(Kane Williamson 112*, Henry Nicholls 89*; Mohammad Abbas 1/37), Pakistan 297 all out in first innings

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–IANS

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