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Williamson, Sodhi give New Zealand lead over Pakistan

KARACHI, PAKISTAN (AP) – Kane Williamson and tailender Ish Sodhi dug in – much to the frustration of Pakistan – as New Zealand moved ahead by 81 runs on the fourth day of the first cricket test yesterday.

Williamson, who completed his first test hundred in almost two years late on Day Two, was not out on 137 off 308 balls while Sodhi was unbeaten on 41 off 127 balls in his comeback test match after four years. New Zealand reached 519-6 at lunch.

Williamson has fully capitalised on two stumping chances early in his innings and now has batted for nearly eight hours, hitting 12 fours.

Sodhi was closing in on his fourth test half century and showed plenty of determination with the bat on a slow turning wicket.

Resuming on 440-6 with a lead of two runs, both batters didn’t get troubled against spinners Abrar Ahmed (3-172) and Nauman Ali (2-154), who have bowled bulk of the overs.

New Zealand’s Kane Williamson plays a shot. PHOTO: AP

Pakistan couldn’t get through the defences of both overnight batters even after taking the third new ball with Sodhi hitting three boundaries against seamer Mir Hamza on the off side of the wicket.

Hamza, also making a comeback after playing his only previous test against Australia in 2018, could have got his first wicket in the penultimate over before the break but Pakistan didn’t appeal as the TV replays suggested he got a thin outside edge of Sodhi’s bat.

New Zealand’s lead was 24 when Nauman came close to dismissing Williamson on 116 in his second over of the day. But Williamson quickly went for a successful television referral against umpire Aleem Dar’s lbw ruling after he missed a full-length delivery down the legside and the TV replays suggested the ball had pitched outside the off stump.

Both Abrar and Nauman also induced top edges that landed close to fielders as New Zealand continued to build its lead on its first test tour Pakistan since 2002.