Pakistan batsmen Shan Masood and Abid Ali are under big pressure after failing to perform in the first Test against New Zealand.
The Green Shirts are in a difficult position going into Day Five in Tauranga, with the Blackcaps needing just seven wickets for victory.
It will take herculean efforts from Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam if they are to bat out the day or get close to their mammoth target of 373.
Pakistan openers under pressure in New Zealand
However, regardless of how things go on the final day, the team’s opening pairing is under scrutiny.
Shan Masood and Abid Ali can do no more in the match, with the former dismissed for 10 and 0 and the latter for 25 and 0.
Their pair of ducks in the second innings had Pakistan 0-2 against a rampant New Zealand side that is full of confidence after consecutive innings victories over the West Indies.
It’s not just in New Zealand that the duo have struggled, though.
Masood scored a brilliant 156 against England at Old Trafford in August but in his four other innings in the series, he managed just 23 runs [HowStat].
Abid Ali’s overall Test stats are more impressive.
Consecutive hundreds against Sri Lanka in his first two appearances showed he can succeed in the subcontinent and after six Tests, his average stands at an excellent 57.50.
Yet, he averages just 23.43 from five matches in 2020, as he continues to struggle against top quality seam bowling [HowStat], and his scores of 7 and 1 in the warm-up match against New Zealand A provided yet more evidence that he isn’t comfortable on lush wickets.
With Pakistan’s main backup opener, Imam ul-Haq, ruled out of the New Zealand series with a thumb injury, the duo are likely to keep their spots for the second Test.
However, with the pressure mounting, both batsmen will feel they need a substantial score in Christchurch if they’re to justify a place in future squads.