Hafeez 178* puts Pakistan in command | Haier Cup 2014, 3rd Test at Sharjah

Related Links: Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, Haier Cup 2014 | Scorecard of Pak vs NZ, 3rd Test at Sharjah

Mohammad Hafeez, who missed the second Test at Dubai, returned back in action in style scoring an unbeaten 178 on the opening day’s play at Sharjah. Pakistan thanks to Mohammad Hafeez’s 7th Test century are in command at 281 for 3 on a slow lifeless surface at Sharjah.

New Zealand cricket captian Brendon McCullum (R) shakes hands with Pakistani batsman Mohammad Hafeez (C) as Pakistani cricket captain Misbah-ul-Haq (L) looks on at the end of the first day of the third and final Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Sharjah cricket stadium in Sharjah on November 26, 2014. Opener Mohammad Hafeez struck a dominating century to lift Pakistan to 281-3 in the third and final Test against New Zealand in Sharjah. The 34-year-old anchored Pakistan’s innings with an unbeaten 178 — his seventh Test hundred and second in the series — as Pakistan dominated the day after winning a crucial toss and deciding to bat on a flat, grass-less Sharjah stadium pitch. AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI/Getty Images

It was a perfect toss to win for Pakistan as it was this factor that could be the difference between a Pakistani victory and a draw. Had New Zealand got to bat first then they could have been in a similar situation like Pakistan because of the flat pitch on offer.

New Zealand made a major change bringing in veteran spinner Daniel Vettori in the place of Jimmy Neesham. Vettori who bowled only three overs in the morning session earned the prize scalp of Younis Khan in the afternoon but that was all he could do on a day that was dominated by Mohammad Hafeez.

Pakistan made a couple of changes with Hafeez replacing Taufeeq Umar and Mohammad Talha taking the place of Ehsan Adil. After a solid opening stand, Pakistan lost the wicket of the left-handed Shan Masood (12) who was bowled through the gate in a frontfoot defence by a slider from off-spinner Mark Craig in the 17th over.

Mark Craig in the afternoon session produced another straighter one, this time to force Azhar Ali (39) to nick it into the hands of Ross Taylor at slip to end an 87-run stand. Daniel Vettori created some pressure on Pakistan when he foxed Younis Khan (5) with his variation in length. Younis Khan went back to a full ball rather than coming forward and got hit on the pad plumb in front by one that skidded through.

New Zealand left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori celebrates after taking the wicket of Pakistani batsman Younis Khan during the first day of the third and final Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Sharjah cricket stadium in Sharjah on November 26, 2014. Opener Mohammad Hafeez hit a brilliant hundred to help Pakistan reach 186-3 at tea on the opening day of the third and final Test against New Zealand. AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI/Getty Images

The Kiwis had Pakistan at 160 for 3 in the 51st over but they couldn’t make any further inroads on the batting paradise. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq remained unbeaten on 38 and he would have been dismissed by leg-spinner Ish Sodhi but for Wicket Keeper BJ Watling dropping an easy catch in the fag end of the day’s play. At the other end, Mohammad Hafeez marched his way to 178 not out from 262 balls with 23 fours and 3 sixes. Hafeez has a great chance tomorrow to score what could be his maiden double century!

Posted by on November 26, 2014. Filed under New Zealand, Pakistan, Pakistan vs New Zealand - Haier Cup 2014. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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