Seam attack drags Pakistan back into 1st NZ test
(Reuters) - Pakistan openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali steered their side through to lunch on the third day of the first test against New Zealand after their seam attack dragged them back into the game earlier on Saturday.
Aslam was on one and Azhar five at the break, with the visitors easing to six without loss and chipping away at a 67-run first innings deficit.
Paksitan's Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Amir had earlier shared the wickets to bundle the hosts out for 200 about 30 minutes before lunch. New Zealand had bowled Pakistan out for 133 before tea on Friday at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
The hosts resumed on 104 for three on Saturday with Jeet Raval on 55 and Henry Nicholls on 29, but Pakistan settled into a testing line and length and only some power hitting from Colin de Grandhomme (29) and Tim Southee (22) inflated the lead.
Neil Wagner (21) was the last man out, giving Rahat his fourth wicket of the innings, while Trent Boult was left three not out.
The collapse would be disappointing for New Zealand given how well set they had been, but once Nicholls was trapped in front by Sohail after adding just one run the pattern for the session was established.
Raval failed to add to his overnight score when Amir had him caught at first slip by Aslam.
De Grandhomme produced a characteristically aggressive cameo that forced Pakistan to spread their field but when he was caught in the deep by Rahat off Sohail any New Zealand hopes of a substantial first-innings lead disappeared.
Rahat had Todd Astle caught at third slip by Ashad Shafiq for a duck before wicketkeeper BJ Watling was snaffled at second slip by Younus Khan for 18 off the left-armer.
Southee and Wagner produced some lusty blows but the home side would be disappointed not to build on De Grandhomme and Raval's performances on Friday.
Raval had steadied New Zealand's innings after they had slumped to 40 for three, scoring his first test half century, while all-rounder De Grandhomme took six for 41, the best for a New Zealander on debut.
The first day's play on Thursday was washed out.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)