New Zealand win third Test to clinch first away se­ries over Pak­istan in 49 years

Daily Messenger - - Front Page -

ABU DHABI: For all the ex­cuses Pak­istan and their sup­port staff come up with, for all the plat­i­tudes of dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion that will be bandied around in press con­fer­ences, no one could jus­tify what has taken place over the past cou­ple of days. Mickey Arthur said af­ter the first Test here in Abu Dhabi that Pak­istan cricket had the abil­ity to move on, and it looks like they've moved on with­out learn­ing a sin­gle thing from it.

A re­mark­able turn­around from New Zealand pro­duced a re­sult that is more a heist than a se­ries win. Af­ter the smash-and­grab in Abu Dhabi in the first Test, New Zealand re­peated the for­mula in the decider, skit­tling out a list­less, spine­less Pak­istan for 156. For sev­eral teams, it would be a match that stood out for years, the poster child for the need to learn lessons. For Pak­istan, it won't even be the most dra­matic im­plo­sion of this three-Test se­ries, which they re­lin­quished 2-1 to the vis­i­tors. It is the sec­ond se­ries loss in last three for Pak­istan at their adopted home, af­ter go­ing un­beaten here for al­most a decade.

Where there was class from New Zealand on the fourth day, there was com­pla­cency from Pak­istan on the third and a ca­pit­u­la­tion on the fifth. Hav­ing blown their chance to bat New Zealand out of the game, they lacked the pow­ers of con­cen­tra­tion to see out 80 overs on the fi­nal day. Kane Wil­liamson and Henry Ni­cholls' part­ner­ship alone had spent 24 more overs out in the mid- dle than the en­tire Pak­istan lineup on a fifth day that could not have gone bet­ter for Wil­liamson if he had de­manded it at a wish­ing well.

Ajaz Pa­tel and Wil­liam Somerville took three wick­ets each, with Somerville en­joy­ing a bril­liant de­but. He can take sat­is­fac­tion in be­ing the ar­chi­tect of the come­back on the third day af­ter a some­what tooth­less start to his bowl­ing ca­reer. On day five, how­ever, he looked a com­pletely dif­fer­ent bowler, with con­fi­dence shim­mer­ing in all as­pects of his game, toss­ing the ball up and beat­ing the Pak­istan bats­men in the flight. His seven wick­ets were the fourth-best fig­ures by a New Zealand player on de­but, and the glis­ten in the eyes told of how much it meant to the 34-year-old who had per­haps won­dered if such a mo­ment would ever be his.

Sar­fraz Ahmed and Babar Azam took some control dur­ing the mid­dle stages, but noth­ing short of a wick­et­less ses­sion would do for the hosts. While Sar­fraz played in the mould of the player he used to be be­fore be­com­ing cap­tain, he seemed to have found a way to sur­vive in the mid­dle.

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