Babar Azam slams his fourth hundred of the year to lead Pakistan’s recovery against New Zealand in first Test | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam continued his excellent batting form in the last match of the year too, scoring a brilliant century to lead from the front in the first Test against New Zealand in Karachi on Monday.
Azam struck spinner Michael Bracewell for a six towards mid-wicket to complete his ninth Test century. It is his fourth Test hundred in 2022.
Pakistan were in a spot of bother on the opening day and were struggling on 115/4 at lunch, before Azam and Sarfaraz Ahmed added an unbroken hundred-run partnership for the fifth wicket to revive the hosts’ innings against the Kiwis.

Azam has already scored more than 1000 Test runs this year, which included four hundreds and seven fifties. This purple patch also included his career best 196 against Australia in Karachi earlier this year in March. Apart from the two tons in Karachi, Azam has a 119 against Sri Lanka in Galle and 136 against England in Rawalpindi in 2022, making it the best year in his Test career.
New Zealand will be ruing letting Azam off the hook when he was on just 12, after Daryl Mitchell spilled a regulation catch at slip off Bracewell. The tourists also failed to run out Azam on 54 when Devon Conway missed the stumps with the Pakistan skipper well short of his crease.
New Zealand’s spinners dominated the first session, with Bracewell dismissing Shan Masood for three and Imam-ul-Haq for 24, while Patel took the early wicket of Abdullah Shafique for seven.
In the penultimate over before lunch, fast bowler Tim Southee dismissed Saud Shakeel for 22 to complete a successful session for the tourists, playing their first Test series in Pakistan since 2002.
New Zealand’s decision to play with three spinners appeared justified, as the National Stadium pitch took turn right from the start. Patel came on to bowl in just the fourth over of the innings. He turned his third ball across a forward-playing Shafique, and had him stumped by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. Bracewell then had Masood stumped in his second over before Haq miscued a drive off him and was caught at mid-off.
This is the first time in Test cricket history that the first two dismissals in an innings were both stumped.
Pakistan, who suffered their first-ever 0-3 home whitewash to England last week, recalled Sarfaraz, Mir Hamza and Haq to the side.
(With inputs from agencies)

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