‘Abil­ity to bounce back key for New Zealand go­ing for­ward’

The Sunday Guardian - - Sports -

WELLING­TON: New Zealand’s fight­back from a de­mor­al­is­ing se­cond test de­feat to clinch the third match, and first away se­ries vic­tory over Pak­istan in al­most 50 years, will help the team progress, cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson has said.

New Zealand beat Pak­istan by 123 runs in Abu Dhabi on Fri­day to clinch a 2-1 se­ries vic­tory, their first away to Pak­istan since 1969, just days af­ter they had been ham­mered in the se­cond match in Dubai by an in­nings and 16 runs.

“To bounce back (and) to put out a per­for­mance that we’re very much proud of ... to come away with the win against a very strong side like Pak­istan, is a great game that guys will re­mem­ber for­ever,” Wil­liamson said.

“( But) to stay with it ... through­out the three weeks, with some rel­a­tively in­expe- ri­enced play­ers who re­ally stepped up ... is some­thing we’ll look back on and be re­ally proud of, and hope­fully that helps our pro­gres­sion.”

Wil­liamson’s side ar­rived in the UAE for the tour, which was also coach Gary Stead’s first in charge, with an untested look about their slow bowlers, with left-arm spin­ner Ajaz Pa­tel and late call- up off­spin­ner Will Somerville both un­capped at test level.

The 30-year-old Pa­tel made his de­but in the first test and fin­ished man of the match with se­cond-in­nings fig­ures of five for 59 that helped his side win the game by four runs.

Somerville, who was work­ing as an ac­coun­tant in Syd­ney be­fore he de­cided to give his cricket ca­reer an­other shot, moved back to New Zealand ear­lier this year and made his de­but in the third game where he had match fig­ures of seven for 127.

“I was so emo­tional af­ter the game be­cause it’s been such a long road,” the 34-year-old said.

“I can’t wait to see the kids and give the wife a hug and all of that stuff, be­cause the sac­ri­fices they have made for me have been amaz­ing and I’m ex­tremely grate­ful.

“It still feels like a dream, I’m still pinch­ing my­self, I’m just so in­cred­i­bly proud.”

Wil­liamson sin­gled out the two slow bowlers for praise, de­spite the fact his own se­cond-in­nings cen­tury en­abled New Zealand to set a vic­tory tar­get of 280 on the fi­nal day in Abu Dhabi.

“For those guys to come over here and show their ex­pe­ri­ence and per­form the way they did was mas­sive for us get­ting across the line,” he said.

Wil­liamson’s side ar­rive back in New Zealand on Sun­day ahead of two tests against Sri Lanka, the first start­ing in Welling­ton on 15 De­cem­ber. REUTERS

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