Pakistan captain Babar Azam turned his arm over on Day 2 of the first Test against New Zealand in Karachi on Tuesday, December 27. The part-time off-spinner did a decent job, conceding only three runs in a tight over.
Pakistan, who resumed their first innings with an overnight score of 317/5, ended up posting 438 in 130.5 overs. Babar was caught behind off Tim Southee early in the day, without adding to his overnight score of 161. Agha Salman’s 103, however, lifted Pakistan to an impressive first-innings total in Karachi.
In response, New Zealand got off to a defiant start courtesy of their openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway. With the main bowlers not being able to deliver the early breakthrough, Babar brought himself on for an over. He bowled the last over before Tea.
While the Pakistan skipper displayed good control with the ball, New Zealand's openers did not do anything silly against the part-timer.
The Kiwis went to Tea on Day 2 at 41/0 after 14 overs. Conway and Latham carried on the good work for New Zealand in the final session of play, featuring in a century stand for the first wicket. Both batters crossed their respective half-centuries as the visitors reached 130/0 after 38 overs.
Earlier on Day 1 of the Test, Babar hammered a brilliant hundred to help Pakistan recover from a precarious 48/3. The Pakistan skipper and comeback man Sarfaraz Ahmed (86 off 153 balls) added 196 runs for the fifth wicket to lift Pakistan to 317/5 by stumps on Day 1.
At a press conference following the opening day’s play in Karachi, Sarfaraz admitted that he was nervous when he went into bat and praised Babar for giving him confidence. The keeper-batter said:
“Babar gave me a lot of confidence and as a senior player the way he talked me through the pressure gave me a lot of confidence.”
While Babar went to stumps on Day 1 unbeaten, Sarfaraz was caught at slip off Ajaz Patel a few overs before the close of play.
How many wickets has Babar Azam taken in Test cricket?
While Babar does not have any wickets in white-ball formats for Pakistan, he has a couple of scalps in red-ball cricket. Playing in his 46th Test, the Pakistan skipper has claimed two wickets so far in the longest format.
His first wicket was that of Bangladesh's Mehidy Hasan Miraz, whom he trapped lbw for 14 in Mirpur in December 2021. His second Test victim was Australia’s Alex Carey, who was bowled for 93 as he missed a sweep against the part-timer in Karachi in March this year.
The 28-year-old has seven wickets in first-class cricket, 12 in List A, and four in T20s.
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