New Zealand win toss, opt to bat against Pakistan in third Test


ABU DHABI – New Zealand won the toss and decided to bat first against Pakistan in the series-deciding encounter in Abu Dhabi here on Monday.

The series stands level at 1-1 after New Zealand won the first Test while Pakistan bounced back to clinch the second. Pakistan have their hopes pinned on leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who is set to become the fastest to reach 200 Test wickets.

The 32-year-old needs just five wickets to shatter Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmettt’s record of completing 200 wickets in 36 Tests, way back in 1936.

Young pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi made his debut and is the only change to the team from the second Test. The match started at 11am Pakistan Standard Time.

New Zealand will gain confidence from their second innings batting with a return to form of Ross Taylor who made 81, Henry Nicholls scored 77 and Tom Latham’s 50.

They have rested Trent Boult and bringing in Tim Southee, who has yet to play in the series.

Teams:

Pakistan: Imam ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi.

New Zealand: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult

Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Paul Reiffel (AUS)

TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)