Yasir, Wil­liamson share hon­ours as third Test heads for fas­ci­nat­ing fi­nale

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - SPORT -

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emi­rates (AFP) — Record-break­ing Yasir Shah had to share the day’s hon­ours with New Zealand skip­per Kane Wil­liamson yes­ter­day as the third and fi­nal Test heads to­wards a grip­ping fi­nal day in Abu Dhabi.

The early part of the morn­ing be­longed to Yasir, who col­lected the one wicket he needed to be­come the fastest man to reach 200 wick­ets in Test cricket.

The rest of the day, how­ever, be­longed to Wil­liamson who played a mas­terly in­nings and was 139 not out as the Ki­wis reached 272-4 by the close.

Wil­liamson had great sup­port from Henry Ni­cholls who made 90 not out dur­ing an un­bro­ken fifth wicket part­ner­ship of 212 that has given New Zealand a lead of 198 with six wick­ets re­main­ing.

With the se­ries tied at 1-1, the fi­nal day of this last Test prom­ises to be fas­ci­nat­ing with both sides ca­pa­ble of win­ning.

The day be­gan in high an­tic­i­pa­tion with New Zealand re­sum­ing at 26-2 and Yasir tak­ing the ball to bowl the third over.

He needed just one wicket to break a record set 82 years ago by the great Aus­tralian leg-spin­ner Clar­rie Grim­mett who had needed 36 Tests to reach the mile­stone of 200 Test wick­ets.

When Yasir trapped night­watch­man Will Somerville leg be­fore for four with his 13th de­liv­ery of the day, he reached the 200-wicket mark in just his 33rd Test.

“Ever since I knew this record, it be­came my dream to take fastest 200 wick­ets and it came true to­day,” said Yasir, who still hopes Pak­istan can pull off a win.

“The wicket is slow but it is turn­ing from the patches. We want to bowl them and try to go for the chase. That is what we are go­ing to try as there is still one full day left in the match.”

Pak­istan had hopes of an em­phatic win once Sha­heen Shah Afridi had Ross Tay­lor caught hook­ing for 22 with the to­tal at 60-4.

But they were un­done by Wil­liamson’s mas­ter­class and an in­nings from Ni­cholls that grew in con­fi­dence but, like his part­ner, en­joyed a touch of luck.

The key mo­ment for Pak­istan in the field came when Yasir dropped Wil­liamson on 87 off Bi­lal Asif when he failed to catch a full blooded pull at square leg.

Wil­liamson, who scored 89 in the first in­nings, drove medium pacer Hasan Ali to the cover bound­ary for his 12th four to com­plete a well de­served 19th Test cen­tury — his sec­ond against Pak­istan.

Ni­cholls also sur­vived a loud leg-be­fore ap­peal off Yasir when on three, but Pak­istan erred by not re­view­ing the not-out de­ci­sion as the ball tracker showed it would have hit the leg stump.

Ni­cholls suc­cess­fully chal­lenged a leg-be­fore ver­dict on nine and was dropped on 50 by Imam-ul-haq off a luck­less Yasir. He has so far hit eight bound­aries.

Their part­ner­ship has im­proved the pre­vi­ous fifth-wicket record against Pak­istan of 183 set by Mark Burgess and Robert An­der­son in La­hore in 1976.

Yasir has fig­ures of 2-107 while Sha­heen has taken 2-55.

Yasir, whose 14 wick­ets helped Pak­istan level the se­ries 1-1 in Dubai, now has 27 wick­ets in the se­ries.

His 14 for 184 were the sec­ond best match fig­ures in a Test for Pak­istan, be­hind for­mer cap­tain and cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan Im­ran Khan, who bagged 14 for 116 against Sri Lanka in La­hore in 1982.

Yasir was also the fastest Pak­istani to 50 wick­ets (nine Tests), and reached 100 wick­ets in 17 Tests - sec­ond only to English­man Ge­orge Lohmann who set the record of 16 in 1896.

He is the sev­enth Pak­istani bowler to take 200 or more wick­ets in a list topped by fast bowler Wasim

Akram’s 414 in 104

Tests.

(Photo: AFP)

New Zealand cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson (left) plays a shot as Pak­istani fielder Imam-ul-haq looks on dur­ing the fourth day of the third and fi­nal Test match at the Sheikh Zayed In­ter­na­tional cricket Sta­dium in Abu Dhabi yes­ter­day.

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