In Karachi’s National Stadium on Wednesday, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham hit contrasting hundreds and ended their third day of the first Test against Pakistan with a score of 440-6 for New Zealand. The visitors now lead by two runs.
This was a great recovery for the team after Pakistan’s first-inning 438 in the opening test. In addition, Williamson had hit his 25th Test century. The last time he had hit such a high run score was when he racked up 238-runs, also against Pakistan, in Christchurch in January 2021.
Williamson’s century was also thanks to Latham, who cracked 113 on the way to hitting his 13th Test century, and Devon Conway, who fell for 92.
When Latham hit his 13th hundred, he broke the record for the most centuries by a New Zealand opener. With this new record, Latham eclipsed John Wright’s 12 centuries as an opener for New Zealand.
Latham could have scored more if not for a failed attempt at a reverse sweep against Abrar that brought his downfall.
In addition to the stars of the match, middle-order batters Daryl Mitchell (42) and Tom Blundell (47) helped boost the team’s total with a combined score of 89 runs.
Not only this, but Latham and Devon Conway put on 183 for the first wicket, beating the New Zealand record against Pakistan of 181 set by openers Mark Richardson and Matthew Bell at Hamilton in 2001.
With their 2-run lead, New Zealand is looking to increase their advantage in the first Test of the two-match series.
Latham, who hit ten boundaries in his 288-minute knock, gave some positive thoughts on New Zealand’s chances:
“The pitch has started to take more turns from the footmarks so obviously it’s not going to get any easier for batting,” he said. “Hopefully, from the position we are in, we can get as many ahead as possible and put Pakistan under pressure.”
Meanwhile, things are looking rough for Pakistan as the camp has been hit by viral flu with skipper Babar Azam not taking the field in the first session and Agha Salman missing for the entire day.
Pakistan’s spinner Nauman Ali had his comments on the game after the team lost several chances when Sarfaraz Ahmed fumbled two stumpings with Williamson.
“I think they were chances but one of the deliveries was on the leg side and Sarfaraz did his best,” said Nauman. “This pitch is on the slow side so our effort will be to get the last four wickets early on day four and then set a good target of close to 200 — which will be good on this pitch.”
The last time New Zealand and Pakistan faced each other in a Test Series were in January 2021. New Zealand had won that Test Series by an innings and 176 runs. Before this, New Zealand and Pakistan have faced each other in 60 matches in Test. Out of these 60 games, New Zealand have won 14 whereas Pakistan have come out victorious on 25 occasions. 21 matches ended with draw.
Depending on how the fourth day of the 1st Test match will go, there is still a chance for Pakistan to turn the tables on New Zealand.