Pakistan eye first Test series win since 2007 as NZ struggle for form

January 13th, 2011 - 7:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Ross Taylor Wellington, Jan 13(ANI): While New Zealand struggle for form, Pakistan will set aside off-field controversies to chase their first series win for four years, when the second and final Test begins in Wellington on Saturday.

Unable to hold international matches at home due to security concerns and beset by corruption allegations, Pakistan have not won a Test series since defeating the West Indies in early 2007, The News reports.

But after crushing the Black Caps by ten wickets in the first Test at Hamilton, the visiting team is in prime position to go 2-0 up and record a clean sweep in the two-match series.

Pakistan team coach Waqar Younis paid tribute to his players for maintaining their focus on the pitch at a time when team-mates Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer faced corruption hearings in Doha.

“It’s not that we’ve been playing bad cricket, it’s just that the controversy has just been following us,” he rued.

“It’s very, very hard for the boys to keep going and keep hearing this, but I’m very proud of these boys, they’ve stuck to the task and every morning they get up and keep positive,” Waqar added.

The suspended trio are set to learn their fate when the anti-corruption tribunal resumes hearings into the spot-fixing case on February 5.

Meanwhile, New Zealand coach John Wright has labelled the Black Caps’ performance in the first Test as “unacceptable”. New Zealand’s entire batting line-up was dismissed for a paltry total of 110 in the second innings.

Critics, including former Test opener Mark Richardson, expressed concern that the focus on Twenty20 had turned Kiwi batsmen into one-dimensional players, prone to wild shots and poor decision-making.

The squads for the second Test are as follows:

New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Reece Young, Tim Southee, Brent Arnel, Chris Martin, James Franklin, Daryl Tuffey.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz. (ANI)

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