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Guptill Puts Positive Spin On NZ's Chances

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Fuseworks Media
Guptill Puts Positive Spin On NZ's Chances

By Chris Barclay of NZPA

Napier, Dec 14 NZPA - Martin Guptill would probably have preferred to talk about his batting exploits, but the third cricket test between Pakistan and New Zealand is yet to follow the standard script.

A day after fast bowler Daryl Tuffey detailed how he made an unbeaten 80, a better score than any of New Zealand's specialist batsmen, one of them was detailing how he succeeded where premier spinner Daniel Vettori could not at McLean Park.

Guptill emerged as an accidental hero for New Zealand today after a decision to use his offspin for an over so Chris Martin could steam in from his preferred end paid surprising dividends.

After being given just five minutes' notice he would be bowling the first over today, three balls later Guptill was celebrating his first test wicket after Salman Butt prodded a return catch down the pitch.

Imran Farhat then mirrored his partner's downfall when nudging a full toss to the bowler in Guptill's fourth over to give New Zealand early success from an unexpected source.

"We just needed to fill in an over because Chris wanted to come from the other end ... I got a wicket so I kept going," Guptill said after Pakistan reached stumps on 347 for four, holding an overall lead of 99.

The 23-year-old, who counts fellow spinner Jeetan Patel as his only first-class wicket in 3-1/2 years of intermittent use, was predictably "pretty stoked" with his success.

He found it hard to explain how he made inroads usually expected from Vettori, who ended with none for 60 from 39 overs.

"I'm not sure, I'd like to say I've done them in the air but it's probably not the case," he smiled.

Guptill bowled two overs late yesterday in a bid to draw Butt and Farhat out of their shells although the openers were not tempted and had posted 128 by stumps.

He completed two spells today for figures of two for 28 from 11 overs.

Iain O'Brien took the other key wicket, that of Mohammad Yousuf for 89.

The Pakistan captain's departure given New Zealand confidence they can run through the remains of the tourists' lineup then complete a fourth innings runchase.

"We can definitely win. If we can get another couple of wickets early they're right under the pump. We'll be right back in it," he said.

Faisal Iqbal, who made 67, admitted Pakistan were reliant on not out batsmen Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq to at least survive the first session tomorrow when they resume of 48 and four respectively.

"Tomorrow is very crucial, especially in the first two hours. If Misbah and Umar hang in there I hope we'll be in a good position," he said.


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