Pakistan wins toss, elects to bat against New Zealand

Pakistan made three changes from the team which was beaten by England at the same venue last week and lost the series 3-0


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Photos: AP
Photos: AP

Published: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 9:22 AM

Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat on a dry and slow wicket in the first test against New Zealand on Monday.

Pakistan made three changes from the team which was beaten by England at the same venue last week and lost the series 3-0.

Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was recalled for his first test since 2018 after Pakistan rested its all format wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.

Mir Hamza was also drafted into the playing XI after the leftarm fast bowler played his only test against Australia in 2018 in Abu Dhabi. Hamza replaced allrounder Faheem Ashraf.

Opening batter Imam-ul-Haq also returned to the side after missing out Pakistan’s eight-wicket loss against England due to a hamstring injury. Shan Masood will move down the order at No. 3 as Azhar Ali retired from test cricket after playing his last test against England.

“It’s a new day, new series and we hope to do well against New Zealand,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said at the toss. “The pitch looks very dry and we will try to put runs on board.”

Tim Southee is leading New Zealand for the first time in a test match after captain Kane Williamson stepped down from the captaincy before the Black Caps' first tour to Pakistan since 2003.

New Zealand was due to play a limited-overs series in Pakistan last year, but abandoned its tour just hours before the toss in the first ODI due to security concerns.

Southee also expected the wicket will suit spinners and loaded his playing XI with three spinners – Ajaz Patel, Ish Sodhi and Michael Bracewell with Neil Wagner the other seaming option.

Sodhi, who has remodeled his bowling action, will be playing his first test in four years while leftarm spinner Patel picked up all 10 wickets in a test innings against India last year.


Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam (captain), Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Agha Salman, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Wasim, Mir Hamza, Abrar Ahmed.

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee (captain), Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel


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