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Conway’s century puts New Zealand in command

After becoming the quickest New Zealand batsman to 1000 runs in the format during the first Test of the Pakistan tour, Devon Conway rode his luck to a fourth Test hundred, extending a superb start to his Test career. Additionally, he made amends for losing for 92 in the first game by surviving a DRS call, sneaking past slip, then being downed at gully while his route.

On the opening day of the second Test, the visitors maintained their lead by scoring another 107 runs in the second session after amassing 119 runs without losing in the first. However, Naseem Shah got the hosts’ lone wicket of the day thus far when he smartly angled one towards the left-hander at great speed and caught Tom Latham for 71.

In the 36th over, Pakistan broke a good opening partnership of 134—Latham and Conway’s second consecutive century stand for the first wicket—with their bowling appearing particularly dangerous after the ball had begun to reverse in the first hour following lunch. As Naseem occasionally walked outside of the crease to straighten the ball, the ball began to reverse away from the left-handers.

Even though Abrar Ahmed kept giving up runs at the other end, Naseem only allowed six runs to be scored in the five-over session when he bowled three maidens to pin New Zealand down. Abrar was dismissed for another 41 runs in his first six overs after the lunch break after going for 26 in his previous five overs. Conway boldly drove and whipped the legspinner each time he erred in line or length.

But throughout, Conway also had a little bit of luck on his side. Conway was struck by a ball that angled in off a decent length when he was on 39 before lunch, and a disgruntled Pakistan had questioned Alex Wharf’s not-out decision when the ball appeared to be heading far over the stumps.

With Conway on 86 and Hasan Ali coming in to replace Naseem, an outside edge missed the sole slip fielder; two overs later, when Hasan forced an outside edge to gully, Saud Shakeel dove to his right but missed the opportunity with Conway on 89. But as Pakistan continued to suffer at the hands of New Zealand, he finally scored his century in the 52nd over when he flicked Mir Hamza between mid-on and midwicket.

Babar Azam had to change the bowlers earlier in the day due to rapid runs; by the ninth over, he had also inserted Hasan and Abrar. All of it didn’t matter, though, as Latham kept hitting the line off Hasan, who allowed him enough room to drive and the right amount of length to keep flipping to the leg side.

As soon as Pakistan’s sole specialist spinner in the game felt the strain, Conway twice skipped down the pitch to Abrar, lofting him for four over deep midwicket and blasting one for six over long-on. Before a calm phase in which Hasan tightened his lines and Abrar slowed it down in the air, the first 11 overs had yielded 54 runs.

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