Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam scored his ninth Test century and remained not out on 161 at the end of the first day’s play in the series opener against New Zealand, helping the host team reach 317/5.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, making his 50th Test appearance and first at home, contributed 86 runs off 153 balls. Ahmed and Babar shared a 196-run partnership for the fifth wicket, which lasted 56.3 overs and put Pakistan in a strong position.
Despite using three spinners, New Zealand was unable to effectively control the run flow, with economy rates ranging from 3.4 to 4.9. Sarfaraz was dismissed in the 86th over, caught by Patel at first slip, ending the partnership with Babar.
Babar narrowly avoided being given out lbw off Patel’s bowling late in the day, but successfully challenged the decision and remained not out on 161 at stumps, with Agha Salman on three not out.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
Pleased with Pakistan's performance today, great comeback after the early loss of wickets. Special praise for Babar for another outstanding innings. Sarfaraz proved his selection right, excellent performance for him under pressure.
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) December 26, 2022
Special innings 🙌
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) December 26, 2022
— Danny Morrison (@SteelyDan66) December 26, 2022
Top class hundred by @babarazam258 . 👏👏👏
— Salman Butt (@im_SalmanButt) December 26, 2022
— Fakhar Zaman (@FakharZamanLive) December 26, 2022
— Shadab Khan (@76Shadabkhan) December 26, 2022
Class apart, Kaptaan @babarazam258!
Enjoyed every bit of it.#PAKvNZ
— Shaheen Shah Afridi (@iShaheenAfridi) December 26, 2022
— Sushant Mehta (@SushantNMehta) December 26, 2022
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) December 26, 2022
Babar Azam and a 100 in NSK!
5th international century for the KING at the venuepic.twitter.com/AsQHGcZfh5
— Emmad Hameed (@Emmad81) December 26, 2022
Babar Azam #9👍🏼👍🏼.
— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) December 26, 2022
Star of the day – Babar Azam.
Pakistan was 48 for 3 then captain Babar led from the front, 161* from 277 balls including 15 fours & 1 six during day 1 stumps. pic.twitter.com/1QHl4pxX51
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 26, 2022
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) December 26, 2022
— Peshawar Zalmi (@PeshawarZalmi) December 26, 2022