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Grand debut for De Grandhomme as Kiwis take charge


CHRISTCHURCH: Late bloomer Colin de Grandhomme celebrated his first international call-up with record New Zealand debut bowling figures of 6-41 as Pakistan crumbled in their first innings of the opening Test on Friday.

After the 30-year-old engineered Pakistan's collapse to be all out for 133 at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand's other debutant Jeet Raval put them in a strong position to be 104-3 in reply at stumps.

New Zealand made a rocky start to their reply when the experienced Tom Latham, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor — with 158 Tests between them — could muster only 16 runs in total. 

But the novice Raval (55 not out) and Henry Nicholls (not out 29 in his eighth Test) added 64 for the fourth wicket to put New Zealand in charge.

On what was effectively the first day of a now four-day Test, after rain washed out the scheduled Thursday start, the honours lay with De Grandhomme. 

The Harare-born, former Zimbabwe under-19 representative is more renowned as a big-hitting batsman.

Although he was picked for the all-rounder role ahead of the more experienced Jimmy Neesham in the swing-friendly conditions, he surprised even himself with his performance.

"I was expecting to score more runs than take wickets," the unassuming all-rounder said.

"I just tried to put it in the areas I wanted to bowl and they managed to do their bit so it's all good."

De Grandhomme picked his first wicket, that of Azhar Ali, as the best of the six, and the Pakistani said conditions were ideal for the New Zealand medium pacer.

"He was hitting in the right areas. There's enough there in the pitch, a lot of grass on it, and there was a lot of moisture as well," Ali said. 

"On that kind of pitch you know that even a bowler who's not as fast can get a lot out of it… We knew that but it was his day. Credit should be given to him. It was his first game and he bowled brilliantly." 

Only seven other New Zealand bowlers have taken five or more wickets on debut, with the previous best figures belonging to Tim Southee at five for 55. 

The previous best six-wicket haul was Alex Moir's six for 155 against England 65 years ago. 

Although conditions appeared ripe for bowling when Williamson won the toss, his strike pair Southee and Trent Boult strayed too much to seriously trouble Pakistan openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali in the first hour. 

But it was very different when Williamson overlooked Neil Wagner as his first-change bowler and flicked the ball to De Grandhomme.

With his 15th delivery, the Aucklander tempted Ali to prod at a ball that seamed back and clattered into the off stump.

Ali was gone for 15 and what was to be Pakistan's second highest partnership of 31 was over. 

Southee came back to remove Aslam (19) and Grandhomme took out Babar Azam (seven) and Younis Khan (two), before Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq put on 32 for the fifth wicket to get their rescue mission through to lunch at 88-4. 

But in the first over after the break, Shafiq fell for 16 when a swinging De Grandhomme delivery sent an edge to Raval at second slip, starting a slide that saw Pakistan's last six wickets add only 45 runs. 

Misbah offered stubborn resistance in a near three-hour innings, reaching 31 off 108 balls before slashing at a Boult flyer to be caught by Williamson. 

Southee disposed of Sarfraz Ahmed (seven) and de Grandhomme, who played one ODI and four T20s for New Zealand in 2012, removed Sohail Khan (nine) and Rahat Ali without scoring.

In addition to De Grandhomme's 6-41 off 15.5 overs, Southee took two for 20 while Boult had figures of two for 39.

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