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Tough Luck For Tuffey

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Fuseworks Media
Tough Luck For Tuffey

By Chris Barclay of NZPA

Napier, Dec 13 NZPA - Daryl Tuffey would have been at long odds to become New Zealand's second centurymaker in the test cricket series against Pakistan although he began to visualise the achievement over lunch at McLean Park today.

The fast bowler instead had to settle for an unbeaten 80, his maiden test half-century, and the satisfaction of knowing his unexpected innings contributed to New Zealand's position of strength at stumps on the third day of the third cricket test.

Any prospect of joining Daniel Vettori, who topscored in New Zealand's first innings with 134, disappeared 18 balls into the middle session when Iain O'Brien and Chris Martin exited in legspinner Danish Kaneria's 53rd over, leaving Tuffey stranded at the non-striker's end.

On 76 at lunch, Tuffey dared to dream.

"I was a little excited obviously. I did (think about a hundred) there for a little bit but unfortunately I just ran out of partners," said Tuffey, who contributed to two more than handy stands as New Zealand posted 471 before Pakistan responded with 128 without loss in their second innings by stumps to trim their deficit to 120 runs.

"A century would have been nice but I'm pretty happy how I struck at it and didn't give my wicket away," Tuffey said.

Pakistan showed little inclination to end Tuffey's entertaining 128-ball knock.

A bat-pad catch evaded Faisal Iqbal under the helmet at short leg when he was 14, two runs later Umar Gul dropped a hard chance at fine leg and then, on 71, Mohammad Aamer pulled out of attempting to grasp a top-edged slog sweep.

Ironically, Pakistan's one piece of inspirational fielding counted against Tuffey.

When Umar Akmal intercepted a Vettori drive at extra cover, to end their 87-run stand for the seventh wicket, only Tuffey's fellow fast bowlers remained.

He still managed to add 62 with O'Brien before O'Brien was stumped for 19, and four balls later Martin's duck ended the innings.

"If Dan had stuck around we would have kept pushing further and further on," Tuffey said.

"It is disappointing (to miss a hundred) but it in the context of the game the (176-run) partnership Brendon and Dan had and then Dan and myself ... we kept taking it away from Pakistan."

Vettori and Tuffey have been even more effective before, adding 99 for the ninth wicket against Pakistan at Hamilton in 2003; Tuffey's 35 that day was his previous best test score.

In his 24th test, and second since a five-year absence, Tuffey admitted he had not always done his batting justice.

"I've always known I can occupy the crease. I've probably let myself down in the past, underperformed and underachieved. Like Dan, you always want to get better and better."

Tuffey's cause was helped today by a placid pitch and he admitted it would be challenging for New Zealand to dismiss Pakistan and leave enough time to force a result.

"It's pretty flat out there now and we've got some hard work ahead of us. The game's in the balance at the moment. They've still got a job to do, the batsmen."

Openers Salman Butt, on 66, and Imran Farhat, 55, resume tomorrow, with coach Intikhab Alam already delighted with their resolve.

"It was a huge task, but credit to both openers. They batted very sensibly and showed that if you use your crust and stay at the wicket, the runs will come. There's no venom left in this pitch," he said.


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