Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson tons set Pakistan 280 to win

Innings New Zealand 353 for 7 dec (Williamson 139, Nicholls 126*, Yasir 4-129) and 274 (Williamson 89, Watling 77*, Bilal 5-65) set Pakistan 348 (Azhar 134, Shafiq 104, Somerville 4-75) 280 to win

After a day of toil, on which 246 runs were scraped together in 90 overs, New Zealand let their hair down. In a wildly entertaining mini-session, Henry Nicholls took charge with his unbeaten 126, and along with assistance from Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee, walloped 81 runs in nine overs. It was a final show of dominance from the visitors before they put Pakistan in to bat, a swift lashing to add to the bruises they had inflicted yesterday. Within a day, the situation was flipped completely, and with Pakistan now set 280 in 79 overs, a win for the hosts looks like the least probable outcome.

Pakistan had begun as well as they could when Hasan Ali trapped Kane Williamson in front on the first ball of the day, ending a stand that had stalled Pakistan for over 80 overs. It was the first time the New Zealand skipper was dismissed after scoring a second-innings ton, giving him a ludicrous average of 856 in those six digs. With New Zealand having won four and drawn one of the previous five, his side will fancy their chances for the rest of the day.

Williamson’s dismissal failed to scare the visitors into conservatism, and two fours in the same over sent across that message. Another ten runs off the next, in which Nicholls moved to 99, made it clear a quick declaration was on the cards. His third Test hundred – his first outside New Zealand – came in the next over, and after that he too cut loose. The short balls from the fast bowlers were most mercilessly put away, while at the other end de Grandhomme, looking a much freer player, smashed Shaheen Afridi and Yasir Shah for sixes. Yasir removed de Grandhomme and BJ Watling off successive deliveries in response, but even Southee couldn’t be contained here.

A six off Yasir from the fast bowler was enough to convince the captain they had accumulated the requisite runs, and he called his side in.

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