Top cricket match prediction: Sarfaraz and Shakeel defy New Zealand bids

The New Zealand spinners made great progress in the first session last morning, taking three big wickets despite Pakistan’s quick run attempts. The second session was a slow, no wicket session, with Sarfaraz Ahmed and Saud Shakeel against New Zealand with a running record of 99 and Pakistan coming close to saving the game after collapsing in the first session.

Shaquille and Sarfaraz thumped to frustrate New Zealand as they managed in the first innings. Surfaraz scored his quarter-century comeback his innings and was an attacker in the stands, sweeping his shot once again being a strong ally.

He set the limit with that shot and spearheaded his 22nd Test 50, but Shaquille dulled New Zealand from the other side as before. Shakeel ate 129 balls on 27 and the duo clipped 225 balls together.

With a goal of 319, Pakistan started his 0/2 day and lost his first wicket when Imam-ul-Haq tried to push the tempo against his Ish Sodhi. While dancing down the track trying to knock Sodhi out of the rough, he misses and the ball spins and hits a stump. At 35/3, Pakistan quickly ran into trouble.

However, Shanhe Massoud and Babar Azam kept the momentum going, with the skipper on 27 and he reaching the limit of five, though Masoud was the calmer of his two. But just as the partnership was budding, Babar bucked the tide of the game.

Michael Bracewell gave the skipper a thin edge trying to see the ball and was expertly intercepted with a leg by Tom Blundell. Massoud also fell in Bracewell’s next over, chipping an attempted loft and being tamed and digging into the middle, thus making one into two.

But just when their hopes of getting over the assault seemed to grow, Sarfaraz and Shakeel closed the door again.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 449 (Devon Conway 122, Tom Latham 71, Matt Henry 68, Tom Blundell 51) & 277/5 d (Michael Bracewell 74*, Tom Blundell 74. Tom Latham 62) lead Pakistan 408 all out (Saud Shakeel 125, Sarfaraz Ahmed 78, Imam ul Haq 83) & 179/5 (Sarfaraz Ahmed 65*; Michael Bracewell 2-33) by 139 runs.

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