Ki­wis win af­ter fi­nal-ses­sion as Pak­istan col­lapse

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

New Zealand took nine wick­ets in a dra­matic fi­nal ses­sion of the se­cond Test against Pak­istan to win by 130 runs in Hamil­ton yes­ter­day and sweep the se­ries 2-0. It was New Zealand’s first se­ries win over Pak­istan since 1985 and a re­lieved cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson called it one of the most re­mark­able Test fin­ishes he had ever played in.

“With­out a doubt,” he said, ad­mit­ting he felt Pak­istan had a chance to win when they started the fi­nal ses­sion need­ing 211 off 204 balls. “You take nine wick­ets in a ses­sion, they’re all pretty big mo­ments... from the feel­ing at tea time to the feel­ing now is pretty con­trast­ing and will go down as a great Test vic­tory.”

Pak­istan were faced with an im­pos­ing 369-run tar­get but set them­selves up for a run-a-ball slog when they reached tea on the fi­nal day at 158 for 1. At that stage Wil­liamson be­gan to ques­tion whether he had de­clared New Zealand’s se­cond in­nings too early at 313 for 5. “It does cross your mind, but at the point of dec­la­ra­tion we did know that the op­po­si­tion needs a sniff,” he said. “They tried to chase it and we were able to get op­por­tu­ni­ties.” Pak­istan cap­tain Azhar Ali said they tried to pull out of the chase and play for a draw when Sar­fraz Ahmed was run out to make it 199for 4 but they could not hold on.

“We thought that’s it be­cause the new ball” was due, he said. “We did not want our lower or­der to be ex­posed to that but at the end if did hap­pen and un­for­tu­nately we could not get the re­sult we wanted.”

The match edged to­wards a cliff-hanger fin­ish be­fore Tim Southee re­moved Pak­istan’s lead­ing run scorer Sami As­lam for 91. That started the col­lapse which saw eight wick­ets fall for 49 in 20 overs with Neil Wag­ner tak­ing the fi­nal three for no runs in just six de­liv­er­ies.

LATE CHARGE, THEN COL­LAPSE

New Zealand’s se­ries win means Pak­istan fall from se­cond to fourth in the world rank­ings while New Zealand move up to sixth. Pak­istan were left to pon­der whether they left their charge too late. Azhar Ali (58 off 161 de­liv­er­ies) and As­lam (91 off 238) laid the plat­form with a record Pak­istan fourth in­nings open­ing stand of 131 but it lasted 60 overs be­fore Azhar was dis­missed.

The ar­rival of Babar Azam was a sig­nal to lift the pace but the pitch was still of­fer­ing sup­port to the bowlers on the fifth day. Azhar (58) played on try­ing to hit leg-spin­ner Mitchell Sant­ner out of the ground and Azam (16) went in sim­i­lar fash­ion fourth ball af­ter tea.

As­lam, try­ing to raise the tempo hav­ing reached his high­est Test score, mist­imed a drive off Southee to Wil­liamson at mid-off. Sar­fraz Ahmed was run out for 19 off 21 balls and Asad Shafiq did not get off the mark. Vet­eran You­nis Khan, on his 39th birthday, strug­gled to 11 be­fore he fell lbw to Southee.

Colin de Grand­homme snapped up So­hail Khan for eight be­fore Wag­ner re­moved Mo­ham­mad Amir, Wa­hab Riaz and Im­ran Khan all with­out scor­ing. It was a Test that had be­gun in Pak­istan’s favour af­ter they won the toss on a lush green sur­face and cel­e­brated with a wicket in the first over. But that bright start faded rapidly and even the loss of more than four ses­sions to rain could save them.

Reach­ing 369 would have meant over­tak­ing the record fourth in­nings chase in New Zealand of 348 for 5 by the West Indies 47 years ago in Auck­land. — AFP

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