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Pakistan take first day honours in New Zealand

AUCKLAND, March 8 (AFP) - Pakistan recovered from their drubbing earlier in the week and the loss of four senior players to take control of the first cricket Test against New Zealand here Thursday.

After being sent in to bat by New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, Pakistan were 270 for four at stumps thanks to an unbeaten 91 by Younis Khan.

He and 19-year-old newcomer Faisal Iqbal -- a day after arriving from Pakistan -- added an unbroken 132 in 169 minutes with Iqbal unbeaten on 42 at the close.

Younis' cause was helped by two dropped catches when he was on five and 64, and Iqbal survived a confident caught behind shout on three.

Fleming rued the first miss on Younis when Parore, going for his fourth catch of the innings, misjudged the edge off Craig McMillan's bowling.

"Halfway through the day we had them at 138 for four, then we spilled a chance. That's more the situation we had in mind," Fleming said.

The captain admitted he was uncertain how the portable pitch -- being used to enable the Eden Park ground to be shared with rugby -- would play but said that with the exception of paceman Daryl Tuffey his bowlers had not lived up to expectations.

"We probably lacked a bit of control with the ball and bowled too many four balls."

Pakistan, who were beaten by an innings and 54 runs to New Zealand A earlier in the week, went into the match without Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdur Razzaq, Wasim Akram and Saeed Anwar, all beset by injuries.

As a result, four players -- Imran Farhat, Misbah-ul-Haq, Iqbal and Mohammad Sami -- were chosen for their debut Tests.

Akram and Anwar were due to fly home tomorrow, leaving the team dangerously light on experience.

Pakistan's new opening pair of Farhat and Salim Elahi put on a confident 46 before Tuffey and Chris Martin removed both in the space of six overs.

The classy Yousuf Youhana lived up to his Test average of 40.37, smashing spinner Paul Wiseman around the park to cruise to his 12th test 50 in 91 minutes off 67 balls.

After edging his eighth four through third man he tried a repeat on 51 off Martin but was snapped up by a tumbling Parore.

He and Misbah, who arrived in the country just two days before, added 78 for the third wicket. Just seven balls later Misbah was out for 28, edging a McMillan delivery to Mathew Sinclair in the gully.

New Zealand could have turned the screw further at 138 for four, but Younis and Iqbal both received their let-offs.

Younis' 50 came up off 65 balls and included nine fours and a six, while Iqbal showed his patience in batting for almost three hours for his 42 not out.

Tuffey was clearly the best New Zealand bowler, ending with an unlucky one for 64 off 26 overs. He had to shoulder the burden after Martin and James Franklin disappointed.

Wiseman had a forgettable day, conceding 35 runs off just seven overs. Part-timers McMillan and Nathan Astle bowled 22 overs between them to compensate.

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