Watch: Naseem Shah returned to the Pakistan Test XI after missing three Test matches due to an injury. He struck during a probing spell of reverse swing to dismiss Tom Latham.
Pakistan conceded 506-4 on the first day of Naseem’s previous Test match. England hammered the Pakistan attack, amassing 657 at 6.50 and 264-7 at 7.36 and eventually winning by 74 runs. Like his teammates, Naseem received a pasting – he conceded 206 in 203 balls – but he had five wickets to show, none of them of tail-enders. He also held two catches, and played a brisk cameo in the first innings and defied England for 46 balls in the second.
In other words, he was one of the few Pakistanis to finish the Test match with something to show against his name. Unfortunately, a shoulder niggle kept him out of the other two Tests of the series as well as the first Test of the ongoing two-match series against New Zealand.
Having regained fitness, however, he showed up for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against Balochistan in the 50-over Pakistan Cup. Out to defend a paltry 134, Naseem had a forgettable outing, as he was taken for 52 in five overs. Balochistan won inside 19 overs, but Naseem had done enough to prove he was fit enough to play the second Test match against New Zealand, at the National Stadium in Karachi.
This was no fairytale comeback, for Tom Latham (71) and Devon Conway added 134 for the opening stand at nearly four an over after New Zealand batted first. Having bowled four overs in the opening spell, Naseem returned for three more just before lunch, with little impact. After lunch, however, he managed to find reverse swing.
Naseem hit Conway on the pad with the last ball of his ninth over – the second of his spell – but it was turned down. He bowled his next ball – the first of the next over – from wide of the crease. The ball curled into Latham at great pace: there was little the batter could do about it as it crashed on to his pad. Latham consulted with Conway before deciding against reviewing.
Watch Naseem Shah get Tom Latham here:
Shapes back in and given leg before! 🎯
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) January 2, 2023