Blackcaps v Pakistan: Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel shine with bat, ball as New Zealand seize initiative on day two

An unbeaten half-century from Matt Henry, before a triple strike in the field has given the Blackcaps a 295-run advantage over Pakistan, heading into the third day's play of the second test in Karachi.

A 104-run stand for the last wicket between Henry (68 not out) and Ajaz Patel (35), lifted the Blackcaps to 449 all out after lunch on the second day, before taking three wickets to leave the hosts 154/3.

Aside from their efforts with the bat, Henry (1/35) and Patel (1/30) also struck with the ball to remove the pair of Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood respectively, before the Blackcaps snared the big wicket when Pakistan captain Babar Azam was run out for 24 attempting a third run.

Matt Henry avoids a bouncer.
Matt Henry avoids a bouncer. Photo credit: Getty Images

Pakistan will resume their first innings later on Wednesday, as the overnight pair of Imam-ul-Haq (74 not out) and Saud Shakeel (13 not out) return to the crease.

So far, the pair have added an unbeaten 55 runs together as a partnership, and will look to tick off the remaining 95 runs needed to see Pakistan avoid the follow-on mark of 249, first up.

Earlier, Blackcaps wicketkeeper Tom Blundell resumed after being 30 not out overnight, and reached his half-century from 103 balls.

But wickets falling at the other end saw the back of Ish Sodhi (11) and Tim Southee (10) to Abrar Ahmed, before Blundell himself departed to Pakistan's legspinner for 51.

However, in a frustrating partnership for the hosts, Henry and Patel combined to lift the New Zealand total past 350, then 400.

In just 137 balls either side of lunch, Henry and Patel added 100 runs for the last wicket - each reaching career-best scores in the process - as the duo became just the fourth pair of a No.10 and No.11 batter to raise a century stand for the last wicket.

Henry bettered his 66 runs scored against Australia in Christchurch in 2016, while Patel went past his 20 against England in Birmingham in 2021.

But one run shy of taking the Kiwi total to 450, Patel gave Abrar his fourth wicket when he top edged a sweep to slip, ending New Zealand's first innings.

Henry carried his batting momentum into his bowling, as the pair combined again when Patel took the catch to remove opener Abdullah for 19, attempting to pull.

At No.3, Shan Masood added a brisk 20 runs from 11 balls before he fell to Patel, cutting straight to first-innings centurion Devon Conway at 56/2.

But the biggest strike came next as Babar, Pakistan's talisman, was sent back by Imam attempting a third run, and left stranded when Michael Bracewell removed the bails.

After running out his captain, Imam reached his fifty from 50 balls, backing up after making 96 in the second innings of the drawn first test at the same venue last week.

Imam pushed on to reach 74 at the close, and will resume, wanting to go big, when the teams return to the middle.

New Zealand 449 (Conway 122, Latham 71, Henry 68 not out, Blundell 51; Abrar 4/149) Pakistan 154/3 (Imam 74 not out; Patel 1/30, Henry 1/35)