DANIEL Vettori fell one run short of a fifth Test century as rain disrupted the second day of the first Test between New Zealand and Pakistan as the hosts closed on 404-8 in Dunedin.
The New Zealand skipper, who started the day unbeaten on 40, had reached 87 when rain delayed play for more than three and a half hours shortly after lunch.
When the teams returned at 18.35 h local time, Vettori moved quickly into the 90s with his 13th boundary of the innings coming off an Umar Gul delivery, but he looked tentative thereafter and was lucky not to go when he edged between Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamram Akmal and first slip Imran Farhat in Gul’s next over.
Gul eventually got his man 10 balls later, enticing the left-hander into a thick edge which Akmal gathered.
It was a disappointing finish to a fighting innings from Vettori, who resurrected his side’s hopes.
Just one ball after Vettori’s dismissal New Zealand were offered the light which they accepted to end the day on 404 for eight, with Shane Bond unbeaten on eight and Iain O’Brien two not out.
Bond survived a referral to the umpire decision review system in the same over Vettori was dismissed when Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf queried Simon Taufel’s decision not to give the New Zealand fast bowler out lbw.
Vettori’s dismissal was Gul’s second scalp of the day after his yorker removed Brendon McCullum’s middle stump on the stroke of lunch to leave New Zealand at 375 for seven.
Gul’s two wickets were just reward after a luckless opening day which saw him bowl seven maidens in 21 overs at the cost of 78 runs.
He finished the second day with figures of two for 113 off 34 overs, including 10 maidens.
McCullum had added 53 to his overnight score by the time he was dislodged as he and Vettori frustrated the Pakistan bowlers in a dogged seventh-wicket stand of 164.
Both batsmen battled through a hostile early spell from Mohammed Asif and Mohammad Aamer, who peppered them with short pitched deliveries.
Vettori, who is managing a left shoulder problem, was hit in that area by Asif while McCullum was hit flush on the helmet by an Aamer delivery and required a brief medical check-up.
Having withstood the onslaught, Vettori notched a rapid 21st Test fifty from 63 balls.
McCullum claimed a 14th fifty from 98 deliveries and the pair continued to punish the frustrated Pakistan attack until Gul got the breakthrough the ball before lunch.
Only 14 minutes were possible after the interval before the rain arrived with the Black Caps having added just six runs to the total.
Three hours and 40 minutes later Vettori and Bond returned to the crease and battled through five tough overs in drizzle and fading light before Gul got the prized wicket of New Zealand’s leading man. (Eurosport)
NEW ZEALAND first innings
T. McIntosh b Aamer 0
M. Guptill c Alam b Aamer 60
D. Flynn c (wkp.) Akmal b Asif 8
R. Taylor c Farhat b Ajmal 94
P. Fulton b Asif 29
G. Elliott c (wkp.) Akmal b Asif 8
B. McCullum b Umar Gul 78
D. Vettori c wkpr Akmal b Gul 99
S. Bond not out 8
I. O’Brien not out 2
Extras: (lb-14, w-1, nb-3) 18
Total: (8 wickets, 126 overs) 404
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-27, 3-144, 4-192, 5-210, 6-211, 7-375, 8-402.
Bowling: Mohammad Aamer 24-3-87-2, Mohammad Asif 31-5-98-3, Umar Gul 34-10-115-2 (nb-1), Saeed Ajmal 37-10-90-1.