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Posted at: Dec 4, 2018, 2:07 AM; last updated: Dec 4, 2018, 2:07 AM (IST)

Shah 2 wickets short of breaking Grimmett record

Abu Dhabi, December 3

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson hit a fighting half-century while BJ Watling 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 Abu Dhabi here today. Williamson missed out on a 19th Test century but Watling was unbeaten on 42 as New Zealand finished the day at 229/7, a measured recovery after being reduced to 72/4 by a triple strike from Shah in the first session.

Shah began his 33rd Test needing five wickets to become the fastest man to reach the milestone of 200 Test wickets. Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett holds the record, having reached the feat in 36 Tests, 82 years ago. Shah 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 needs another two wickets to claim the record.

Bright start

With both teams needing a win to seal the series currently tied at 1-1, Shah induced a mini-collapse in the morning as the Kiwis slipped from 70/1 to 73/4 at lunch. He trapped opener Jeet Raval leg-before with a faster one for 45. With his next ball, the leg-spinner clean bowled Ross Taylor. Henry Nicholls saved the hat-trick but soon he was bowled around his legs while attempting a sweep. However, it was teenage left-arm paceman Shaheen Afridi, making his Test debut as a replacement for injured medium-pacer Mohammad Abbas, who gave Pakistan their initial breakthrough and claim his first Test victim. The 18-year-old nipped one back sharply to trap Tom Latham lbw. 

Brief scores: New Zealand:  229/7 (K Williamson 89, Watling 42*, Somerville 12*; Yasir Shah 3/62) vs Pakistan

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