Rain was the winner on Day One of the Second Test between New Zealand and Pakistan in Hamilton, but Ross Taylor has seen the home team take the early advantage.
The veteran New Zealand batsman showed signs that he may have returned to form before rain forced the players from the field.
Taylor, who made headlines this week for ongoing issues with his eyesight that will see him require surgery next week, helped steer the Blackcaps into a strong position at lunch. Taylor strode to the crease and smashed a quick-fire 35, with most of the runs coming from terrific cut shots as he punished some loose bowling.
The 32-year-old has had a difficult year of batting prior to today, scoring just over 100 runs in Test cricket during the season. But before the rain came in Hamilton, Taylor’s aggressiveness at the crease helped the Blackcaps to 77/2 after a shortened first session.
Jeet Raval carried his impressive form from his Test debut in Christchurch on with him to Hamilton. After being given a life, Raval steadied himself and played a couple of classy strokes as the morning went on.
Raval batted himself to a classy 35 from just 63 balls before the rain came, running at a healthy strike rate of 55.5 and hitting five boundaries.
Due to the departure of Misbah-ul-Haq, the usual captain for Pakistan, Azhar Ali took charge for the Second Test. On a typical green pitch in Hamilton and with rain around, Ali sent New Zealand into bat on the opening morning.
With an all-seam attack chosen, Mohammad Amir dismissed left-handed opener Tom Latham in his first over of the morning. It was Amir’s fifth wicket of the series so far, and it continues a mightily impressive first year back playing international cricket.
It was the perfect start for Pakistan at Seddon Park, yet it could have been so much better. Fellow opener Jeet Raval was dropped in the slips on zero, costing Amir a double in his first set of deliveries for the day.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson found the boundary with a classy drive through the covers, and together the pair managed to see off the new ball and keep the runs flowing steadily.
However, Imran Kahn found the inside edge of Williamson’s bat, and after a DRS review, the New Zealand captain was sent on his way.
At around 12.30pm local time, the rain came in and forced the players from the field. Earlier, the coin toss had been delayed due to persistent drizzle, but conditions improved to see play start on time.
Play was officially abandoned for the day shortly after 4.00pm local time.