After Pakistan were bowled out for 297 in their first innings, New Zealand trail the visitors by just 11 runs after the pair of Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls put on an unbeaten 215 runs for the fourth wicket.
Aakash Chopra made this observation in a video shared on his Facebook page while reviewing the second day's play at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
Aakash Chopra started by pointing out that New Zealand are in a dominating position in the Test, as their skipper Kane Williamson has slammed another century and looks good for more.
"Kane Williamson has struck his second consecutive century in two matches. New Zealand are still 11 runs behind but have gone way ahead in the match because they have lost just the three wickets so far and have a strong grip on the match," said Aakash Chopra.
The reputed commentator said that the visitors have themselves to blame for the errors they committed on the field, with bowlers transgressing the front crease and fielders dropping catches. Aakash Chopra said in this regard:
"When they take the catch, it is a no-ball, and when it is not a no-ball, the catches are dropped. That's the story of Pakistan. They could have been on top in this match. 297 on Day one wasn't that bad a total, but Pakistan frittered away their chances on the second day of the second Test."
Aakash Chopra observed that the match was almost evenly poised when Pakistan got Ross Taylor to reduce New Zealand to 71 for 3. That was after Tom Latham and Tom Blundell had given the hosts a stable start with an opening partnership of 52 runs.
"There were more expectations from Pakistan. Tom Latham and Tom Blundell had given New Zealand a good start, but after that Faheem Ashraf's incoming delivery hits Blundell on the pad. The umpire gave it 'not out', but the call was overturned with a review. Tom Latham also got out after that. The match was 50-50 till lunch. They kept Ross Taylor on a tight leash and got him out as well," stated Aakash Chopra.
"Pakistan have surrendered the advantage from a good position" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra highlighted that Henry Nicholls' 'dismissal' off a Shaheen Afridi no-ball was the turning point of the day, saying in this regard:
"Then Shaheen Afridi was bowling well, and Mohammad Rizwan takes a brilliant catch, but it turns out to be a no-ball. That will hurt Pakistan quite a bit because when you are in a good position and could have got Henry Nicholls, the long 200-run partnership in double quick time wouldn't have happened."
Chopra observed that Nicholls' wicket at that time would have put Williamson under pressure, and he could have succumbed as well. The Kiwi skipper was also given a few lives by the butter-fingered Pakistan fielders.
"Kane Williamson might have also come under pressure and played a bad shot, but nothing like that happened. There was a 50-50 catch of Williamson at gully, and there was a close run-out call that went in Kane Williamson's favour," added Aakash Chopra.
Chopra signed off by saying that Henry Nicholls was given another reprieve when Mohammad Rizwan put down a sitter to let the Kiwis off the hook.
"Then when Shaheen Afridi bowls again, it was not a no-ball, and he gets an outside edge, but Rizwan drops a regulation catch. Now if Pakistan concede a huge lead to New Zealand, who still have seven wickets in hand, the balance will get tilted again towards New Zealand courtesy some loose cricket. So Pakistan has surrendered the advantage from a good position," concluded Aakash Chopra.
New Zealand would have been in trouble at 74/4 had Shaheen Afridi not overstepped before Mohammad Rizwan grabbed a brilliant diving catch in front of first slip.
While Rizwan's subsequent drop of Nicholls came late in the day, there were other missed chances by the Pakistan fielders that proved costly, with edges flying through the slip cordon and Shan Masood putting down Kane Williamson at gully.Published 04 Jan 2021, 23:45 IST