Williamson and Nicholls grow NZ lead to 125 runs in 3rd test


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Unbeaten partners Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls pushed New Zealand’s second-innings lead to 125 runs against Pakistan on the fourth day of the third test on Thursday.

Captain Williamson grafted an unbeaten 105 off 166 balls with some impeccable boundaries through covers and together with Nicholls, who was 54 not out, led New Zealand to 199-4 at tea.

Pakistan, which led by 74 on the first innings, had chances to dismiss both batsmen in the second session.

However, Williamson’s and Nicholls’ partnership grew to 139 runs as they capitalized on the dropped catches.

Yasir Shah dropped Williamson on 80 when the ball burst through his hands at square leg.

Shah could have dismissed Nicholls on 3, but Pakistan didn’t go for the leg before wicket referral. Video replays suggested the ball would have crashed onto the leg stump.

Nicholls survived another chance on 9 when he successfully overturned an lbw decision against him off Shah’s sharp turning delivery from round the wicket.

And Imam-ul-Haq couldn’t hold onto a sharp reflex catch of Nicholls close to the wicket on the leg side soon after the left-hander completed his half-century.

Shah, with two wickets earlier in the day, became the quickest bowler to reach 200 in test cricket history. The legspinner broke the 82-year-old record in his 33rd test when he had nightwatchman Will Somerville lbw on 4.

Australia legspinner Clarrie Grimmett held the previous record when he got his 200th wicket in his 36th test in 1936 against South Africa at Johannesburg.

Ross Taylor’s overly aggressive approach ultimately led to his downfall on 22 off 14 balls when he was caught in the deep as New Zealand slumped to 60-4.

Taylor smashed three boundaries in left-arm Shaheen Afridi’s one over and was undone by Afridi’s pace in the next over and holed out at deep mid-wicket.

Williamson and Nicholls then dug in well on a slow pitch in the second session and gradually increased the lead as Pakistan fielders let chances slip away.

The New Zealand skipper completed his 19th test century off 154 balls with a crisp cover driven boundary off Hasan Ali just before tea. It was his 12th four.





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