Farhat, O Brien share honour

NAPIER: Pakistan opener Imran Farhat carried his bat for an unbeaten 117 but New Zealand’s bowlers dominated the first day of the deciding Test in Napier today.

Iain O’Brien, in his final match before quitting Test cricket, ripped through the tourists’ top order with a spell of 4-15 in only eight overs. Daryl Tuffey dismissed the last four batsmen caught behind, leaving Farhat stranded and Pakistan all out for 223. Tim McIntosh (31 not out) and BJ Watling put on 47 before bad light ended play early.

After levelling the series at 1-1 with a 141-run victory in Wellington last week, it was a disappointing way for Pakistan to open up the third and final Test. Pakistan got off to a shocking start with opener Salman Butt undone by an inswinger from Tim Southee when the score had only reached 14.

O’Brien grabbed a wicket in his first over, forcing Faisal Iqbal to pop one into the hands of Martin Guptill at gully, and three more victims soon followed without troubling the scorers. Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq both fell in O’Brien’s fifth over to leave Pakistan wobbling and Farhat having to watch his team-mates swiftly returning to the pavilion. Kamran Akmal provided brief support at the crease but the wicketkeeper was dismissed for 22 after lunch as Farhat reached a half century in 74 balls. Umar Gul’s 24 was the second-highest score of the innings before he and Mohammad Asif fell in successive deliveries.

The Pakistan innings at least concluded with some fireworks as Danish Kaneria hammered 16 in boundaries from 13 balls before another outside edge gave keeper Brendon McCullum his fifth catch, four of them off Tuffey (4-52). O’Brien concluded his day with figures of 4-35 off 15 overs, while the obdurate Farhat was left undefeated after facing 169 balls and hitting 14 fours and one six.