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Green pitch catches Pakistan off-guard

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Pakistan's stand-in captain says England has nothing on New Zealand when it comes to producing green seaming pitches.

That's at least going on the evidence of the first Test at Hagley Oval, where the tourists were dismantled twice for a total of just 303 runs, resulting in an eight-wicket loss.

You won't see them complaining though.

Skipper Azhar Ali, who has taken the captaincy from veteran Misbah-ul-Haq who returned home on Sunday to attend a family illness, says they'll take what they get, having always prided themselves as a team who can play in any conditons.

He suspects another lively track for the second and final Test in Hamilton starting on Friday.

"It's New Zealand's home conditions so we, as a professional team, just have to play whatever we get, and that's it.," Ali said.

However, he admits he'd never encountered anything that compared to Hagley Oval in terms of sustained seam support.

Not even in England, where Pakistan toured this year and secured a meritorious 2-2 series draw.

"No pitch was like this in England. Obviously it swings around but not as much grass as that," he said.

"You usually don't see in Australia, New Zealand or England a pitch that supports the seamers so much.

"Maybe it reminds of one or two pitches in Sri Lanka. The ball does it (moves around) for a couple of hours on the first day or two but it starts to settle down."

His assessment of the Christchurch pitch didn't match that of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who described it as fair and gave batsmen every chance if they applied themselves after the zip of the first two days faded.

Ali is confident of a better showing in Hamilton, particularly with the bat, because of the Christchurch experience.

Their only pre-series chance to adapt to Kiwi conditions was a first class match in Nelson. It was washed out without a ball bowled.

"You like to have a practice game going into a Test," he said.

"As the No.2-ranked side in Tests, we won't go into that, because we know that we're better than that.

"There's a lot to learn from this game. We'll have to regroup and we'll definitely welcome the remaining days before the Test."

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