Our event of the day is Day 2 of the 3rd Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. On day one, New Zealand won the toss and decided to bat, ending the day on 229/7 after an impressive final session bowling by Pakistan. The hosts fell behind in the series after losing the first Test by just four runs; the smallest margin of defeat in Test cricket in 13 years. However, Pakistan bounced back in the second Test and overcame an underpowered New Zealand side, winning by an innings and 16 runs after an incredible bowling display by Yasir Shah. Pakistan’s spin bowler Yasir Shah has been the host’s stand out player in the series so far, the 32-year-old took 14 wickets in his side’s victory in the second Test. Shah ended the Test with figures of 14 wickets for 184 runs, giving him the best match figures recorded by a Pakistani bowler since 1982. In that second Test, New Zealand were blown away in their first innings at the crease, as they were bowled out for just 90 runs.
In contrast to the struggling Kiwis, left-hander Haris Sohail put in an immense performance with the bat in that crucial second Test, scoring 147 runs – no player has scored more in a single innings in the entire series. According to the ICC’s rankings, New Zealand are officially the fourth best Test team in the world of cricket. In the first Test, the Kiwis proved their worth at a crucial time in the game, bowling Pakistan all out after the hosts needed just 41 runs with six wickets in hand to take the victory. New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel had a big part to play in that Pakistan collapse as the slow bowler, who made his test debut in October, took five wickets in the hosts’ second innings at the crease. Pakistan will be the favourites to take the series, particularly after limiting New Zealand to 229 for 7 in the first innings of the Third Test. However, if New Zealand’s bowlers can submit another stellar performance, they have every chance of leaving Abu Dhabi with all the spoils.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Premier League tie between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road. No side have scored more goals in the English top flight than City this season and they will certainly look to boost their tally against a side who have conceded five goals without reply across their last two games. There are three more games in the Premier League as the hectic Christmas schedule gets underway, including a crucial game between potential relegation candidates West Ham United and Cardiff City. In the NHL, there is a typically busy night of fixtures, with the showpiece being the Atlantic Division clash between the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will be looking for their fifth straight win. Finally, day eight of the UK Championships gets underway in the snooker at The Barbican in York, as Ronnie O’Sullivan looks for his third title in five years at this tournament.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by ICC Cricket
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