Sarfaraz holds fort after Pakistan lose Imam, Babar and Masood

Lunch Pakistan 408 and 125 for 5 (Sarfaraz 29*, Shakeel 16*, Sodhi 2-23) need another 194 runs to beat New Zealand 449 and 277 for 5 dec

New Zealand stuck one step inside the door towards claiming the second Test in Karachi – and with it the series – as offspinner Michael Bracewell and legspinner Ish Sodhi struck thrice together in the morning session of the final day’s play. But much of that was down to Pakistan’s batters either giving their wickets away or being unlucky.

The signs of the first one came in the ninth over, when Imam-ul-Haq drove hard at a full delivery outside off from Sodhi, but it turned in to beat the inside edge, the stumps and as well as the wicketkeeper. Despite that, Imam tried to be adventurous against Sodhi soon after.

Come the 13th over, Imam tried to negate Sodhi’s turn into him from the rough outside off by skipping down to drive. Instead, he was beaten in flight and the ball turned in from wide outside to hit off stump. As a result, for the third time in four innings this series, Imam was out after charging down the pitch.

Babar Azam then steadied Pakistan in the company of Shan Masood. Babar began on a busy note, smashing five fours in an eight-over period starting from the 15th over. Four of those came on the leg side, and three in the region between midwicket and mid-on, where he repeatedly flicked each time New Zealand went too full, or even offered a full toss.

Masood, at the other end, looked quieter, happy to nudge the ball around after starting the day with two off-side fours. There was a nervous moment for him when Bracewell found the outside edge in the 23rd over, only for the ball to sneak between the wicketkeeper and slip. But just three balls later, Babar inside-edged Bracewell behind to Tom Latham, who did well to move to his left despite being blinded by the batter getting across and deep in the crease.

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