ABU DHABI: Pakistan got off to a confident start in their first Test against New Zealand on Sunday, posting 85 without loss at lunch on the opening day.
Openers Mohammad Hafeez put on 45 and Ahmed Shehzad made 40 on an unresponsive and flat pitch at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Skipper Misbah-ul Haq had won the toss and decided to bat in hopes of posting a big total, as the Pakistanis did against Australia in the second Test last week at the same venue.
His openers responded well and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum brought on his spinners Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi after just the ninth over in efforts to secure a breakthrough.
Off-spinner Craig almost succeeded but wicket-keeper B.J. Watling missed a stumping chance with Shehzad yards out of his crease after his forward push failed to connect. He was on 16 at the time.
Hafeez, on 35, was also lucky to survive when his tentative push off leggie Sodhi was caught by Ross Taylor in slip — but after one bounce.
Hafeez, under pressure after failing in the Australia series, has so far scored three boundaries while Shehzad has four.
Pakistan kept the same side which won the second Test against Australia by 356 runs to secure a 2-0 series victory.
New Zealand entered the Test with two seamers and as many spinners.