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Debutants put NZ on top against Pakistan

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Colin de Grandhomme. © MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images Colin de Grandhomme. New Zealand's newcomers announced themselves in style as they eked out an advantage over Pakistan on the second day of the first Test in Christchurch. 

The debut of Auckland team-mates Colin de Grandhomme and Jeet Raval exceeded all expectations as the Black Caps reached 104-3 at stumps after the visitors were skittled for 133.

Losing the first day to rain shouldn't prevent a result at Hagley Oval after 13 wickets tumbled on Friday, fuelled by a record-breaking haul of 6-41 to de Grandhomme.

The strapping allrounder claimed the best figures by any New Zealander on debut, taunting the Pakistanis with seam-up medium pacers perfectly suited to the green pitch. Tim Southee and Trent Boult recovered from untidy efforts with the new ball to bag two scalps each as the tourists paid for a series of loose shots against a moving ball.

After being sent in, Pakistan survived the first hour but when de Grandhomme clean bowled Azhar Ali for 15 with a sweet in-ducking ball it sparked a slide they couldn't halt. Misbah-ul-Haq, in his 50th Test as skipper, provided late ballast with 31 but nobody else reached 20.

The standout in the field was Raval, who effortlessly pouched three catches at second slip. His confidence continued at the crease, unbeaten on 55 after three more accomplished team-mates fell cheaply.

The 28-year-old's composure was evident as he put on 64 with fellow left-hander Henry Nicholls (29 not out). Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor scored 16 runs between them, leaving the Black Caps teetering at 40-3.

Taylor was unlucky, caught down the leg side for 11 off Rahat Ali to continue a worrying lean trot. There was a wicket each to seamers Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan and Ali but none could fluster Raval. Straight drives were an early feature from the Indian-born opener, who was organised on defence for nearly three hours.

He expanded his strokeplay as the pitch flattened, hitting seven fours in nearly three hours.

Nicholls punched well square of the wicket, desperate to prove he shouldn't have been dropped for the 3-0 series whitewash in India. However, neither could steal the limelight from de Grandhomme, whose international career appeared to have ended in 2012 when he played five limited overs internationals.

A surprise squad selection last week, he wasn't expected to then oust Jimmy Neesham from the starting team, let alone be handed the ball nine overs into the match.

His was one of six changes from the team routed by India in the third Test in Indore last month, with Neesham and seamer Matt Henry both omitted before the toss. Ali, Khan and batsman Babar Azam were introduced to the Pakistan side who lost to the West Indies in Sharjah two weeks ago.

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