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Pakistan expect more from key players

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Pakistan expect two of their most dominant players to have key roles in what they say will be a much-improved second Test outing against New Zealand.

Batsman Younis Khan and legspinner Yasir Shah were barely sighted in the eight-wicket loss in Christchurch, a result which leaves Pakistan on the verge of losing an enviable Test series streak.

They have won their five of their last seven series and drawn the other two on the way to a world No.2 ranking.

Central to that run has been Yasir, ranked the world's fifth-best bowler after racing to 116 wickets in just two years of Test cricket.

The 30-year-old went wicketless at Hagley Oval in conditions far better suited to seam bowling

Interim captain Azhar Ali says there is no thought given to dropping his strike weapon for the second Test starting in Hamilton on Friday, despite the expectation of more green conditions.

"He's so good and he's been performing exceptionally well, even in England he's got a lot of wickets," Azhar said.

"Whatever the conditions tell us, we'll always try to pick our best XI."

Younis, who has scored 9666 Test runs, managed just three in Christchurch - the lowest tally from any of his 111 matches when batting in both innings.

He was undone in the second innings when gloving a throat-high bouncer from Neil Wagner, who turned the Test with a spell of sustained aggression.

Azhar admits Younis and the rest of the Pakistan top order will need to find ways to counter Wagner's methods.

"If you come to this part of the world, you expect that," Azhar said.

"You expect subcontinent teams will be tested with that short stuff and we all knew that. We're hopeful to turn things around quickly."

With his team missing unavailable captain Misbah-ul-Haq at Seddon Park, Azhar wants to show the way with the bat.

He battled to scores of 15 and 31 in Christchurch, the latter innings lasting more than four hours.

It was a frustrating experience for the opener, who scored a triple century against the West Indies in Dubai last month.

"I was applying myself and trying to battle out the conditions," he said.

"We couldn't get the flow of runs going at any stage. Sometimes the opposition doesn't allow you to score runs," he said.

"But I feel very confident inside. It's just a matter of time until you start playing fluently and the runs start coming."

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