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|Colin de Grandhomme||3.0||0||15||0||5.00|
|Colin de Grandhomme||3||8||0||0||37.50|
|Colin de Grandhomme||13.0||6||30||2||2.31|
|Colin de Grandhomme||0||1||0||0||0.00|
A few good wins after a nightmarish Asia Cup would certainly have calmed some nerves down in Pakistan's dressing room. They first won test series against Australia and then followed it up with three limited-overs series win. After prevailing over New Zealand in the ODIs and T20Is, they'll now be up against the Kiwis in the longest format of the game with the first starting on 16th November 2018 at Abu Dhabi. New Zealand improved as the ODI series progressed, but still had plenty of things to improve on when the series got concluded. New Zealand have done better in longer versions of the game better as compared to the shorter versions and it will be interesting to see how they do in the upcoming test and thereafter in the whole of the series.
The Asian team will be oozing with confidence going into this match having won four matches out of five completed in this series. In addition to that, rarely does it happen that they lose a test at this venue. Out of 11 matches played here, Pakistan have lost just one.
Imam Ul Haq got injured in the last ODI, but he is declared fit and expected to take the field in the opening test. Their batting will be strengthened by the availability of Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam. Their batting also consists of the likes of Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Khan with Shadab Khan coming in late in the order.
Their strong batting order is backed by a terrific bowling attack. Mohammad Abbas will be the main threat for the visitors. He's in brilliant rhythm and was the highest wicket-taker in Pakistan's last test series. Along with him, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, and Yasir Shah are likely to trouble the Kiwi batsmen who struggled against spinners in the ODI and T20I series as well.
Mohammad Hafeez, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali.
New Zealand last played a test match back in January 2018 where they registered a comprehensive 1-0 series win against England. Furthermore, they have lost just one of their last eleven games. The last time they were in UAE, they did particularly well as they drew the series 1-1 in the three-game series.
New Zealand's batting depends heavily on Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor who are their best players of spin. Kane Williamson's injury is a big concern for the Kiwis, who also happened to miss the deciding ODI earlier. Tom Lathan has done exceedingly well in tests against Pakistan and his fine form was evident in the ODIs as well.
The injury concerns are troubling the Kiwis in the bowling department as well. With Mitchell Santner and Todd Astle injured, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of Ish Sodhi, Will Sommerville, and Ajaz Patel. The pace bowling will be handled by Trent Boult and Tim Southee who are proven match winners for the Kiwis.
Jeet Raval, TWM Latham, KS Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, IS Sodhi, N Wagner, Ajaz Patel, TA Boult.
With surface likely to break towards the end, we expect the captain winning the toss to bat first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The temperature at Abu Dhabi has dropped from 40 degrees to around 33 degrees in the last couple of months which should be a lot soothing for the players. However, the surface will be similar and is expected to break towards the end of the match. Batting in fourth innings will be tough and even minuscule first innings will carry significant importance. We expect plenty of assistance for spinners in the later part of the test.
New Zealand are placed fourth in the ICC Test rankings whereas Pakistan languishes at seventh position. However, that doesn't tell us the complete story. Pakistan have done exceedingly well of late. The Kiwis are coming after a long break and might be a little jittery coming into the series. Also, they face the threat of inspired Mohammad Abbas who has been a revelation in world cricket. Pakistan will be buoyed by their limited overs series win and the win against Australia. Also, New Zealand's problem against spin was apparent in the shorter format as well. With well-settled batting lineup and a potent bowling attack, Pakistan are more likely to prevail in the upcoming encounter.
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