Dominant New Zealand Difficult to Oppose

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New Zealand look set to build on a thrilling first Test success by beating Pakistan again in their second and final meeting, which starts on Saturday.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson

Pakistan seemed up against it heading into the first Test, given the formidable home record of New Zealand, and the Bay Oval clash quickly turned into a one-sided affair.

New Zealand declared in their second innings at 180 for five, leaving themselves more time to attack the Pakistan line-up, setting a target of 373 for the visitors.

The declaration worked out perfectly and New Zealand ended up bowling out their opponents for 271 with only four and a half overs left to play in the final session, securing a 101-run success.

Pakistan gave themselves a chance of holding on for a draw, courtesy of a Fawad Alam century and his 63.2-over stand with Mohammad Rizwan, but Rizwan’s dismissal sparked a flurry of wickets in the final hour of the match.

The Black Caps laid the foundation for victory with a first-innings total of 431, bossing proceedings in the Christmas Test, bolstering an already magnificent unbeaten streak on home soil.

They have won 12 and drawn three of their 15 Tests since their last home loss – against South Africa in March, 2017 – and can be fancied to get through this two-match series unbeaten.

The first Test triumph meant New Zealand went atop the world rankings for the first time in their history, underlining how successful they have been over the last two years.

Skipper Williamson Set to Lead From Front

Kane Williamson must feel ten-feet tall, having led New Zealand to the top of the Test rankings, and the cock-a-hoop captain can be fancied to be his side’s top runscorer in the first innings of the second Test.

Williamson is not only a fantastic skipper – he is rightly considered one of the best batsmen in the world – and it was his knock of 129 at the Bay Oval which set up his side for victory against Pakistan.

Williamson is in his prime at the age of 30 and from 82 Tests the Tauranga-born batsman can boast an awesome average of 52.9. He has made 23 centuries in 143 innings – and at the start of this month he compiled 251 in a brute of an innings against West Indies.

The Hagley Oval, Christchurch, could become the latest ground to witness a Williamson masterclass.

Alam Can Build on His Respectable Resilience

The first Test would have been over a lot quicker had Fawad Alam not dug in for a gritty century, providing Pakistan with hopes of a draw, and the 35-year-old can follow up his Bay Oval heroics with another healthy score in Christchurch.

Alam had not made a ton since 2009, so was over the moon to have reached three figures in such difficult circumstances, and will be worth chancing at juicy odds for top Pakistan runscorer in the first innings.

Steve has been a Racing Post columnist, golf tipster and punter and is one of the most well-known tipsters in the country. Steve’s columns featuring golf betting tips have been must-read material for years.
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