Bond's absence from Wellington Test is gung ho news for Pak cricket team

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Wellington, Dec.2 (ANI): News of Shane Bond's latest abdominal injury has undeniably given a boost to the Pakistan cricket team ahead of the Basin Reserve Test that begins here from Thursday.

Pakistan will now be hoping to square the series after lossing the first test by 32 runs.

Bond's 1cm-long abdominal muscle tear has eased the nerves among Pakistan's fidgety top order after the 34-year-old recreated his glory days in Dunedin last week with an eight-wicket, man-of-the-match-winning haul.

Captain Mohammad Yousuf described Bond as one of the best bowlers he had faced in his 83-test career in the aftermath of New Zealand's triumph at University Oval.

Today he deferred to coach Intikhab Alam when asked what the quick bowler's absence would mean for his team.

"New Zealand will miss him dearly. It's bad luck, this is a very, very crucial test match," Intikhab said, before adding unconvincingly: "I wouldn't say it's a relief, we have come to play cricket, it doesn't matter who you are playing against."

Bond tormented Pakistan's top three in both innings and twice had the measure of Umar Akmal, the teenage debutant who guided his side within range of a comeback victory.

The pitch, once the rain clears and the covers are removed, is expected to appear custom made for a bowler of Bond's pace and guile.

Chris Martin will front the attack, a responsibility he has performed with distinction during Bond's regular absences. And Daryl Tuffey finally plays his first test in five years after being on the fringes of selection since the tour of Sri Lanka in August.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has adapted to life with Bond in rehabilitation but the latest setback is still demoralising given his virtuoso performance at University Oval.

"I'm pretty sad for him, we've grown accustomed to having Shane around and obviously his performance (in Dunedin) was outstanding. He basically won the first test on his own, he played a huge role in it and however this series goes, we're indebted to Shane," the NZPa quoted Vettori, as saying. (ANI)

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