Somerville shines as NZ seal his­toric vic­tory

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Debu­tant Will Somerville grabbed three key wick­ets to guide New Zealand to their first away se­ries win over Pak­istan in 49 years with a crush­ing 123-run win in the third and fi­nal Test yesterday.

The off-spin­ner took 3-52 and was aided by fel­low spin­ner Ajaz Pa­tel’s 3-42 as Pak­istan came up well short af­ter be­ing set a daunt­ing 280-run tar­get in 79 overs.

They crum­bled to 156 in 56.1 overs on a weary pitch at Sheikh Zayed Sta­dium in Abu Dhabi.

The vic­tory gave New Zealand a 2-1 se­ries win af­ter they had taken the first Test by a nar­row four-run mar­gin at the same venue. Pak­istan bounced back with an in­nings and 16-run win in the sec­ond Test in Dubai.

New Zealand’s last away se­ries win against Pak­istan was a 1-0 vic­tory in matches played in Pak­istan in 1969.

Cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson, whose 139-run in­nings turned the match and the se­ries in his side’s favour, said: “It was fan­tas­tic. Beat­ing Pak­istan in their back­yard is very tough.

“It feels pretty spe­cial, and this will be one that the guys re­mem­ber for a long time.

“We know the game can ebb and flow very quickly but we came out and played very well to­day.”

It was New Zealand’s fifth Test se­ries win in their last six played since Novem­ber 2016. They beat Pak­istan, Bangladesh, the West Indies and Eng­land – all at home – with the sin­gle loss came against South Africa.

Somerville, who took 4-75 in the first in­nings to fin­ish with seven wick­ets in the match, broke a stub­born 43-run sixth-wicket stand be­tween top scorer Babar Azam (51) and skip­per Sar­fraz Ahmed, who made 28.

Pa­tel ended Azam’s 114-ball re­sis­tance be­fore get­ting the last wicket when he dis­missed Hasan Ali for four, spark­ing cel­e­bra­tions among the New Zealand play­ers.

Pak­istan were again let down by sloppy bat­ting and Sar­fraz rued missed op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We had our chances in all three Tests but we could not grab them,” he said.

“It’s very dis­ap­point­ing to lose a se­ries in con­di­tions which are our own.”

Pak­istan were off to a dis­as­trous start when Mo­hamed Hafeez, in his last in­nings be­fore he re­tires from Test cricket, was bowled by fast bowler Tim Southee for eight.

Medium pacer Colin de Grand­homme had first-in­nings cen­tu­rion Azhar Ali caught be­hind for five be­fore Somerville’s dou­ble strike pushed Pak­istan to 55-5 at lunch.

Somerville had Haris So­hail caught off a ten­ta­tive push in the slip with his third ball of the first over for nine and next ball had first in­nings cen­tu­rion Asad Shafiq caught be­hind off the glove.

In the last over be­fore lunch Imam-ul-Haq, watch­ing four wick­ets fell at the other end, gave an easy catch to for­ward short-leg off Pa­tel for 22.

Ear­lier, New Zealand de­clared their sec­ond in­nings on 353-7 af­ter some 45 min­utes of bat­ting with Henry Ni­cholls re­main­ing un­beaten on 126 and Wil­liamson dis­missed at his overnight score of 139.

That 212-run stand be­tween Wil­liamson which brought New Zealand back into the game on Thurs­day, was fi­nally bro­ken with the very first ball of the day.

Medium pacer Hasan Ali trapped Wil­liamson leg be­fore and even a re­view did not pro­long the New Zealand skip­per’s in­nings.

Will Somerville, cen­tre, and Tim Southee, left, both took three sec­ond in­nings wick­ets as New Zealand bowled out Pak­istan for 156.

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