After taming Australia, Pakistan aim another whitewash against Kiwis
New Delhi: After a 2-0 clean sweep of Australia, Misbah led Pakistan cricket team would look to continue their winning momentum when they face New Zealand in the first test in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Pakistan achieved the feat against the Australia with two big victories by 221 runs and 356 runs after a long wait of 20 years.
The win was much significant for Pakistan for two reasons. Firstly they were advanced to third spot in ICC test rankings and secondly their match-winning spinner Saeed Ajmal is under suspension due to illegal bowling action while pacers Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan were injured.
But an inexperienced bowling attack of left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (14 wickets) and leggie Yasir Shah (12) forced spin-shy Australia into submission in both Tests.
Underdogs Kiwis on UAE tour are scheduled to play three tests, two T20Is and 5 ODIs. They would be looking forward to win their first series against Pakistan since their last 2-0 triumph at home in 1985.
More impressive is Pakistan`s home record, having not lost against the Black Caps since 1969. Out of the 50 Tests between the two, Pakistan have won 23 and New Zealand just seven with 20 drawn.
Veteran Pakistan batsman Younis Khan who smashed 468 runs in two tests against Australia while skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali too notched up their centuries, Pakistan certainly looks the much dominant side.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed also hit hundreds in the first Test; a confidence boost which Misbah is confident will be maintained.
Pakistan have retained their 16-man winning squad for the first Test and are likely to make no changes in the squad that drubbed Australia in the second test which was played at the same Abu Dhabi venue.
New Zealand hope leg-spinner Ish Sodhi can come good after taking five wickets in the drawn side game against Pakistan 'A'.
The Kiwis will also hope their experienced middle-order batsman Ross Taylor is fully fit after suffering a calf injury and having managed just 11 in the tour game in Sharjah.
The remaining two Tests will be played in Dubai (November 17-21) and Sharjah (November 26-30).
Pakistan: Misbah-ul Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Talha, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sarfraz Ahmed, Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt), Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi.