Afridi stars with bat and ball as Amir makes wicket-taking return

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Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir made a winning return to action for his country.

Disgraced bowler Mohammad Amir made a low-key international return following a five-year spot-fixing ban as Pakistan beat New Zealand by 16 runs in the opening Twenty20 international in Auckland.

The fast bowler, who also served three months of a six-month prison sentence, returned figures of one wicket for 31 from his four overs, following his ban for deliberately bowling no-balls during a Test against England at Lord’s in August 2010.

Amir, now 23, who was convicted along with team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, was released from prison four years ago.

Pakistan, and likely Amir, are due to tour England in the summer, playing four Tests, five one-day internationals and a T20 international.

Amir did not bat at Eden Park as the tourists made 171 for eight, but took the eighth wicket of the New Zealand innings, as Matt Henry was caught by Shahid Afridi for 10 with the hosts all out for 155.

Batting first, Pakistan got off to a strong start thanks to Mohammad Hafeez’s 61 off 47 balls, including eight fours and two sixes.

His dismissal, one of four wickets for Adam Milne, who had him caught by Todd Astle, left the tourists on 110 for four, but contributions from Shoaib Malik (20), Umar Akmal (24), Imad Wasim (18) and in particular Afridi, who made 23 from just eight balls, kept the score ticking over.

Mitchell Santner was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets for 14 from his four overs.

The Black Caps put on 80 for the second wicket between Kane Williamson and Colin Munro, but Henry was their only other player to make double figures.

Williamson, who made 70, hit six boundaries and a maximum in his 60-ball knock, while Munro smashed six sixes as he raced to 56 in 27 balls.

But the latter’s departure in the 10th over, bowled by Wahab Riaz, prompted a collapse from 89 for one to 108 for six. When Williamson was the ninth man out, caught by Hafeez off Riaz, the game was up.

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Mohammad Amir makes international comeback in first T20I

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Amir is expected to make his eagerly awaited comeback to international cricket.

All eyes are on Mohammad Amir in Auckland as the Pakistan paceman makes his first international appearance after his five-year ban from the sport for spot-fixing.

Follow all the action on Sport360.com as captain Shahid Afridi has the left-armer at his disposal for the first of three T20Is against New Zealand, which will then be quickly followed by three one-day internationals.

Use #360LIVE throughout the match to have your say on the action.

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England in strong position at end of day one at the Wanderers Stadium

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Steven Finn enjoyed a good day with the ball for the tourists.

Steven Finn led a persistent England bowling attack as South Africa failed to capitalise on a promising start on the first day of the third Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Thursday.

South Africa were 267 for seven at the close, a disappointing return after reaching 117 for one at the mid-afternoon drinks break.

Having negotiated what could reasonably have been expected to be the trickiest part of the day – after winning the toss and batting in cloudy conditions on a pitch with pace and bounce – wickets fell at regular intervals.

South Africa slipped to 225 for seven before Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada took them to the close with an unbeaten partnership of 42.

Eight of the nine batsmen in action reached 20, with Faf du Plessis scoring 16, but Dean Elgar’s 46 was the highest score.

Elgar’s dismissal, pushing at an off-spinner from Moeen Ali to be caught behind by Jonny Bairstow, started a slide. It ended a second wicket partnership of 73 with Hashim Amla, who fell to a superb delivery from Finn shortly afterwards for 40.

The tall Finn was hostile throughout the day, taking the wickets of Amla and Faf du Plessis for a return of two for 50.

Ben Stokes took two for 46, including the key wicket of new captain AB de Villiers, who looked in supreme form before getting a faint edge to an attempted pull shot after making 36.

It was a collective bowling effort, however, with De Villiers the only batsman to look fully comfortable.

While the bowlers exerted pressure throughout the day, several batsmen contributed to their own downfall.

Four were out hooking or pulling, while Temba Bavuma was run out, responding slowly after Dane Vilas set off for a quick single.

Van Zyl and Elgar survived some hostile bowling, notably from Finn, as they put on 44 for the first wicket before Ben Stokes came into the attack and struck with his third delivery.

Stokes sent down an innocuous-looking, short delivery which Van Zyl attempted to work to leg, only to get a leading edge which presented an easy catch for Bairstow, who had to jog to a short square leg position to take the offering.

Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was ruled out of the South African team after injuring his right knee in an accident at home on Wednesday evening.

Vilas flew from Port Elizabeth on Thursday morning to replace De Kock, arriving at the ground shortly before the first drinks break.

South Africa included a new cap, fast bowler Hardus Viljoen, 26, in a four-man pace attack with part-timer Elgar the only spin bowler in the side.

England named an unchanged team, with opening batsman Alex Hales having recovered from a stomach bug.

De Kock slipped and sprained his right knee at home late on Wednesday, only realising it was serious when he woke up after midnight in pain and with a swollen knee.

England lead the four-match series 1-0.

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