NZ in steady start against Pakistan

Opener Tom Latham approached his second hundred in as many games as New Zealand reached tea on 2-160 on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan on Monday.

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At the break Tom Latham (84) and Ross Taylor (one) were at the crease after New Zealand won the crucial toss and decided to bat on a flat, grass-less Dubai stadium pitch.

Latham, who hit his maiden hundred in the 248-run defeat in the first Test in Abu Dhabi last week, once again showed grit and application during his 240-minute stay, hitting nine boundaries.

He added an invaluable 76 for the second wicket with Kane Williamson (32) after giving a solid start of 77 with Brendon McCullum who made 43.

Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar broke the stubborn second wicket stand when he turned one across Williamson’s bat and hit the off stump.

Williamson hit only one boundary during his patient 86-ball knock.

In the first session Pakistan had to toil hard for wickets with Latham and McCullum batting confidently.

McCullum took the attack to the bowlers, hitting four boundaries and two sixes during his 69-minute stay at the crease.

He was dismissed just before lunch, pulling straight into the hands of deep square-leg where Shan Masood held a regulation catch.

Latham, who survived a leg-before review off Adil when on 11, but since then batted flawlessly.

New Zealand, trailing the three-match series 1-0, kept the same side which lost in Abu Dhabi last week.

Pakistan were forced to play with a new opening pair after Ahmed Shehzad was ruled out of the remaining two Tests with a skull fracture, and Mohammad Hafeez suffered a hamstring injury.

They were replaced by Masood and Taufeeq Umar while paceman Imran Khan was rested and made way for Adil.