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Williamson, Watling dig in after Yasir shines in final Test

AFP  |  Abu Dhabi 

skipper hit a fighting half century while batted with patience to delay leg-spinner Yasir Shah's bid to become the fastest to 200 wickets on the first day of the third and final Test in on Monday.

Williamson missed out on a 19th Test century but Watling was unbeaten on 42 as closed on 229-7, a measured recovery after being reduced to 72-4 by a triple strike from Yasir in the first session.

Yasir began his 33rd Test needing five wickets to become the fastest man to reach the milestone of 200 Test wickets. The record is currently 36 Tests, set 82 years ago by Australian legspinner Clarrie Grimmett.

Yasir managed 3-62 but was then thwarted by the fifth wicket stand of 104 in 249 balls between Williamson and Watling.

He failed to take any more wickets in the last two sessions and still needs another two wickets to hit the 200-mark and claim the record.

Williamson struck seven boundaries but these were the bright points in a day when defence came first.

The normally robust and aggressive Kiwi curbed his attacking instinct as he attmpted to carve out a first innings that might give his side some leverage in the match. The scoring rarely got above two an over.

Watling also dug in and the pair batted right through the middle session. Williamson passed 50 in a Test for the 46th time but he was not able to convert his innings into another hundred.

Having reached 89 off 176 balls, he mistimed a clip off shortly after tea and found a gleeful oouching the catch at short midwicket. Off-spinner took over from Yasir, claiming for 20 and for two to finish with 2-57.

But Watling kept one end intact through his patient near-four hour batting, hitting only one boundary in his 180-ball display of self-denial.

- Yasir's morning -

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With both teams needing a win to seal a series which is currently tied at 1-1, Yasir was the key and the leg-spinner induced a mini-collapse in the morning as the Kiwis slipped from 70-1 to 73-4 at lunch.

Yasir trapped opener Jeet Raval leg before with a faster one for 45. Raval reviewed but ball-tracking showed it would have hit leg stump.

With his next ball, Yasir clean-bowled as the batsman went back but completely missed the ball.

saved the hat-trick but shortly after he attempted to sweep and Yasir flicking the ball as it went through to bowl him around his legs.

Yasir, whose 14 wickets helped level the series in Dubai, has 25 wickets in the series so far.

It was teenage left-arm paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi, making his Test debut as a replacement for injured medium pacer Mohammad Abbas, who gave their initial breakthrough and claim his first Test victim.

The 18-year-old nipped one back sharply to rap opener on the pads. reviewed the on-field not out decision and were rewarded when ball-tracking showed the ball would have cannoned into the stumps.

New Zealand, who won the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi, brought in fast bowler and off-spinner Will in place of and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 19:50 IST
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