Confident Pakistan Look to Carry Momentum in Test Series Against New Zealand

Sarfraz Ahmed and Kane Williamson unveil the trophy for the upcoming Test series between Pakistan and New Zealand. —AFP

ABU DHABI: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson completed a half century to lead his team´s fightback on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Jeet Raval got some game time during the unofficial Test series in the UAE and could continue his good record in the longer format. It will be interesting to see how the youngster goes in the five-day format though. Asif gave a good account of himself in his debut series against Australia where he picked up nine wickets in the two Tests including a 6/36 in his first game in Dubai.

Sarfraz said he expects more from Yasir, who managed just eight wickets against Australia.

But Pakistan have not beaten New Zealand in a Test series since 2011, and Sarfraz is not taking them lightly. Despite winning the toss and opting to bat, New Zealand appeared under pressure from the outset. They need to think a lot for picking the playing XI whether to go with four bowlers and an all-rounder or with three pacers and two spinners. "Abbas, ever since he entered worldwide cricket, is bowling superbly around the world", said Williamson. The hosts have also included uncapped Saad Ali, a top-order batsman in their squad.

What channel is Pakistan vs New Zealand on? . Twenty overs earlier, it had appeared as if Pakistan may run through the middle order in the first session.

Yasir has been a match victor on the neutral venues of United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Pakistan have been forced to play since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team suspended global cricket back home. Pakistan won the 3-match T20I series 3-0 but were made to fight hard by the Kiwis.

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Williamson will be incharge of leading the side and will undoubtedly be the fulcrum of the batting unit.

"Measure for measure obviously coming into Pakistan's home series, naturally there is a lot of work to do for the overseas side - adapting to the conditions to the best they can", said Williamson.

New Zealand are likely to hand a debut to left-armer Ajaz Patel, who is set to partner either off-spinner Will Somerville or leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

Kane Williamson (C), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Tim Southee/Colin de Grandhomme, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel/William Somerville.

The conditions in Abu Dhabi are expected to be humid and while there is rain predicted it should not have much of an impact on the game.

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