Watch: Salman Agha claimed three wickets on the first day of the second Pakistan-New Zealand Test, with the highlight his dismissal of Daryl Mitchell, bowled through the gate.
The off-spinner had claimed just two Test wickets before the game, only sporadically used by captain Babar Azam despite seemingly being in the side as an all-rounder.
He displayed all his bowling credentials in a fizzing spell to halt New Zealand’s progress, playing a key part in bringing Pakistan back into the game despite century stands for each of the first two wickets.
After Naseem Shah dismissed Tom Latham, it was Salman who gave Pakistan their next breakthrough, finding the edge of centurion Devon Conway’s bat with a delivery that dipped and turned.
Naseem struck again, dismissing Kane Williamson, but Salman would not be outdone. The next dismissal was even better, finding sharp turn from outside off stump between the bat and pad of Daryl Mitchell to disturb the stumps.
There was an element of fortune to the next wicket, Henry Nicholls aiming a cut at a shorter delivery and only succeeding in feathering through to Sarfaraz Ahmed, before Abrar Ahmed struck for the first time, the Black Caps slipping from 234-1 to 279-6.
Salman has showed his calibre with the bat, notching a maiden century in the first Test against New Zealand, but has rarely been seen with the ball. Before 2023, he had claimed just two wickets in six Tests with an average of 114, and had not bowled more than six overs in an innings since July’s series against Sri Lanka. After this performance, it may well be that Babar turns to him more regularly in future.
Watch Salman bowl Mitchell below:
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) January 2, 2023