NZ beats Pakistan in test series after 123-run win in UAE
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — New Zealand beat Pakistan in a test series away from home for the first time in 49 years after thumping the home side by 123 runs in the third test on Friday.
Set 280 to win in 79 overs on the last day, Pakistan was 55-5 by lunch, and was all out for 156 in an extended middle session.
Fast bowler Tim Southee, playing his first test of the series, took 3-42 while 34-year-old debutant William Somerville and fellow spinner Ajaz Patel, playing his third test, shared six wickets.
“It was fantastic, beating Pakistan in their backyard is very tough,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said.
“It was a great fighting effort, and one that we will remember for a long time.”
New Zealand scored 274 and 353-7 declared, against Pakistan’s 348 and 156, to win the series 2-1. New Zealand won the first test by four runs on the same ground, and lost the second in Dubai by an innings.
New Zealand looked to be in charge of the series decider only at the end of the fourth day. It began the fifth on 272-4, lost century-maker Williamson to the first ball, but slammed 81 runs in nine overs to declare on 353-7.
Henry Nicholls reached his third test century, and first away from home, and finished 126 not out.
In the chase, Babar Azam top-scored with 51 off 114 balls before he was the ninth man to be dismissed as Pakistan’s top order succumbed to brilliant bowling.
Opener Mohammad Hafeez was dropped off the first ball he faced and thus missed making a pair in his farewell test. He was out soon after for 8 when Southee knocked back his off stump.
Colin de Grandhomme then had first-innings century-maker Azhar Ali caught behind for 5, then Somerville dismissed Haris Sohail on 9 and Asad Shafiq for a duck to edges off successive deliveries in his first over.
Patel got opener Imam-ul-Haq caught close to the wicket on 22 at the stroke of lunch as Pakistan limped to the interval on 55-5. Any thought of batting for the win turned into survival mode.
When Somerville clean bowled skipper Sarfraz Ahmed for 28 after lunch, Pakistan’s top order had collapsed to 6-98.
Azam twice successfully overturned umpire Paul Reiffel’s decisions against him through television referrals, and was dropped by Ross Taylor soon after completing his half-century. But then he came forward and mistimed Patel and holed out in the deep.
Patel took the last wicket to secure only New Zealand’s fifth series victory in Asia and first in 10 years.
The failure to resist frustrated captain Ahmed, who oversaw Pakistan losing only its second test series in the United Arab Emirates in the last decade.
“If you look at the series, it was in our hands and we let it slip. We had our opportunities,” Ahmed said.
“If we go till the fifth day, we need to bat well, especially with the new ball. That’s an area to work on.”
Earlier, Ahmed finally took the new ball in New Zealand’s second innings, in the 105th over, and Hasan Ali trapped Williamson with the first delivery of the day. Williamson made 139 off 283 balls, including 13 boundaries.
His marathon 212-run stand off 482 balls with Nicholls was the third best in terms of balls in the UAE.
Nicholls, de Grandhomme and Southee lashed at the Pakistan bowlers for a quick declaration, and left 79 overs to bowl out Pakistan. Ultimately, they needed only 57.
Legspinner Yasir Shah claimed 4-129 in the second innings to take his wickets tally to 29 in the series and earn the man of the series award.
New Zealand returns home for a two-test series with Sri Lanka starting next week.
Pakistan travels to South Africa for a tour starting in less than two weeks.