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Patel satisfied with New Zealand’s performance

New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel delivers a ball during the second day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the National Stadium in Karachi on December 27, 2022. — AFP

KARACHI: New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances in the ongoing first Test against Pakistan in Karachi.

After an unbeaten 165-run opening stand, New Zealand have given themselves the perfect platform to secure a handsome first-innings lead.

“The pitch is more conducive for batters as compared to pacers or spinners. We bowled well today which helped us improve our position in the match. The batters also did a good job. However, tomorrow is a big day for us,” Patel said during an exclusive interview with Geo News.

“We are not thinking about the lead at the moment since our first target is to equal Pakistan’s total in the first innings.

“We also need to see how the pitch behaves tomorrow morning. There is some moisture in the pitch in the morning session which helps the bowlers.”

He also lauded Babar Azam and Sarfaraz Ahmed after the duo’s 196-run partnership for the fifth wicket in the first innings.

“Babar and Sarfaraz batted really well yesterday. They took full advantage of the loose ball we bowled. We weren’t able to apply pressure on a consistent basis through dot balls,” he said.

Patel, who can speak and understand Urdu since he was born in Mumbai, also admitted that knowing the local language helps him during the match.

“I can understand their language so it is slightly easy to know Pakistan’s plans. Although, it does not make a big difference since as cricketers we should be able to understand a player’s plan even if we don’t speak the same language,” he said.

It must be noted that New Zealand reached 165-0 at stumps on day two. The visitors still trail by 273 runs in the first innings.

Tom Latham and Devon Conway were unbeaten on 78 and 82 runs, respectively, at the close of play.

Pakistan bowlers struggled to apply pressure on the Kiwi batters throughout the innings on the second day, with a benign pitch not helping their cause.

Earlier, Pakistan were dismissed for 438 in their first innings on Tuesday.

Babar Azam, 161, and Agha Salman, 103, scored centuries for the hosts.

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