Cricket: Brilliant Vettori Keeps New Zealand Alive

Richard O'Hagan@@theskiverCorrespondent IIJanuary 16, 2011

It was a much better day for New Zealand at the Basin Reserve, and it was all down to their captain. Daniel Vettori led a lone rearguard as the Kiwis ran up a score of 356 in their first innings, a total which seemed impossible when Vettori walked to the wicket at 180-6.

To understand just how good his innings was, of the 176 runs scored whilst he was at the wicket, he made 110 of them before being last man out.

After a first day in which wickets fell at regular intervals, he and wicket-keeper Reece Young made it until the over before lunch on the second day before being parted, with Young making his maiden Test 50 in only his second game.

After lunch, Vettori expertly shepherded the tail, with the last three batsmen adding only six of the 38 runs put on for those three wickets. Credit is also due to last man Chris Martin, who lasted 16 balls and enabled Vettori to reach his fifth Test 100.

Pakistan's own innings got off to a bad start as Mohammed Hafeez's poor start to this series continued. He may have been unlucky, as there was some debate over whether he had actually touched the ball, but he was given out caught behind when aiming a loose drive, having scored only one.

Thereafter, though, the Pakistanis had little trouble with the New Zealand bowling, to the extent that it was a surprise when Taufeeq Umar edged the last ball of the day to second slip.

Needless to say, the bowler was Vettori. But with Pakistan on 134-2, Azhar Ali unbeaten on 62 and the New Zealand attack lacking any sort of penetration, it is fair to say that they still hold the whip hand in this game.

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