Conway's century puts New Zealand in command | Daily News

Conway's century puts New Zealand in command

Devon Conway is delighted to bring up his century
Devon Conway is delighted to bring up his century

Devon Conway rode his luck on the way to a fourth Test hundred, continuing on a fantastic start to his Test career after having become the fastest New Zealand batter to 1000 runs in the format during the first Test of the tour of Pakistan. He also made up after falling for 92 in the first match, surviving a DRS call, edging short of slip, and getting dropped at gully on the way.

The visitors continued to be in the driver's seat on the first day of the second Test, adding another 107 runs in the second session after piling up 119 without loss in the first. However, Naseem Shah struck to give the hosts their only wicket of the day so far, when he trapped Tom Latham for 71 by sharply angling one into the left-hander at high pace.

Pakistan broke a strong opening stand of 134 - Latham and Conway's second successive century stand for the first wicket - in the 36th over, with their bowling looking at its most threatening when the ball had started to reverse in the first hour after lunch. The ball reversed away from the left-handers, as Naseem even went wide of the crease to straighten it at times.

Naseem conceded just six runs in that five-over spell when he bowled three maidens to tie New Zealand down, even as Abrar Ahmed kept leaking runs at the other end. Having gone for 26 in five overs before lunch, Abrar was taken for another 41 in his first six overs after the break, with Conway confidently driving and whipping the legspinner each time he erred in line or length.

But Conway also had some fortune going his way throughout. When on 39 before lunch, a frustrated Pakistan had reviewed a not-out verdict by Alex Wharf when Conway was beaten by one that angled in off a good length, only for the ball projected to be going way over the stumps.

And when Hasan Ali had replaced Naseem with the ball reversing, an outside edge fell just short of the only slip fielder with Conway on 86; two overs later, when Hasan induced an outside edge to gully, Saud Shakeel dived to his right only to drop the chance with Conway on 89. But he finally reached his hundred in the 52nd over, when he flicked Mir Hamza between mid-on and midwicket, as New Zealand piled on the misery on Pakistan. Earlier in the day, quick runs had forced Babar Azam to shuffle the bowlers, as he had also introduced Hasan and Abrar by the ninth over. But all that made little difference, as Latham continued to find the boundary off Hasan, who gave him the room to drive as well as the ideal length to keep flicking to the leg side.

Next over, Conway twice skipped down the pitch to Abrar, lofting him for four to deep midwicket and launching one for six over long-on, as Pakistan's only specialist spinner in the match felt the pressure right away.

The first 11 overs had fetched 54, before a quiet period followed, with Hasan tightening his lines, and Abrar slowing it down in the air.

But that calmness from the two batters lasted for only five overs, as both continued to target Abrar, who seemed to be bowling too full by then. Babar replaced Abrar with Agha Salman, but Latham pulled him through midwicket in the 19th over, before reversing a leg-before decision off Hamza's next over.

Umpire Alex Wharf gave it out when a good-length ball slightly nipped back in from outside off to strike him on his pads, only for replays to show a faint inside edge after Latham had reviewed instantly.

Brief scores:

NZ 309/6 (Tom Latham 71, Devon Conway 122, Kane Williamson 36, Tom Blundell 30 n.o., Naseem Shah 2/44, Agha Salman 3/55, Abrar Ahmed 1/101 Vs Pakistan. Cricinfo

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