Wil­liamson savours ‘spe­cial’ se­ries win against Pak­istan

Gulf Times Sport - - CRICKET -

Kane Wil­liamson termed his team’s first away se­ries win over Pak­istan in 49 years as “spe­cial” af­ter New Zealand thumped Pak­istan by 123 runs in the third and fi­nal Test in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Wil­liamson’s sub­lime 139 in New Zealand’s sec­ond in­nings aided by an un­beaten 126 by Henry Ni­cholls helped New Zealand set a daunt­ing 280-run tar­get for Pak­istan on the fifth and fi­nal day.

Spin­ners Will Somerville and Ajaz Pa­tel, and fast bowler Tim Southee took three wick­ets apiece as Pak­istan folded for 156 in 56.1 overs on a slug­gish fifth day pitch at Sheikh Zayed Sta­dium.

New Zealand’s last away se­ries win over Pak­istan was in 1969 when they won the sec­ond Test in Karachi and drew the other two in La­hore and Dacca.

New Zealand came this time as un­der­dogs to the tough con­di­tions of Pak­istan’s tem­po­rary home in United Arab Emi­rates, a fact which Wil­liamson felt made the vic­tory spe­cial.

“It was a fan­tas­tic se­ries to be a part of and ob­vi­ously to go one-all and then have a de­cid­ing match that goes five days with both teams in with a chance of a re­sult proves it was a spe­cial win,” said Wil­liamson, who has now cap­tained New Zealand to vic­tory in five of their last six se­ries.

“Cer­tainly from our per­spec­tive to have won the se­ries against a side like Pak­istan who are for­mi­da­ble in these con­di­tions is quite spe­cial.” New Zealand won a hard­fought thrilling first Test by a mere four runs in Abu Dhabi be­fore go­ing down by an in­nings and 16 runs in the sec­ond in Dubai. Wil­liamson said he was proud of his play­ers, most of whom had not played in Asia.

“With­out a doubt I am proud of them. I said in­ex­pe­ri­ence in terms of in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure but they have played do­mes­tic cricket and bowled a lot of overs.

“I don’t think (it was) a per­fect game from ei­ther side. I think Pak­istan played close to a per­fect game in Dubai but it was a tough fight. Each team tried to re­main afloat and in the end we pulled it off.”

Pak­istan cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed ad­mit­ted his team spurned good chances in both de­feats. “It’s a very dis­ap­point­ing se­ries loss for us,” said Sar­fraz, whose team has now lost three con­sec­u­tive Tests at Sheikh Zayed Sta­dium. “We had our chances but we could not grab them. “If you talk of the first Test we bowled them out for a low score but did not take a big lead. Here too we did not take a big lead and had to pay for that.”

Pres­sure is sure to in­crease on Safraz as his role as cap­tain comes un­der closer scru­tiny. He has now lost five of his ten Tests as skip­per, with four wins and a draw, but he said it is not the right time to leave the post. “Look, when it (de­feat) hap­pens then one thinks on that,” said Sar­fraz. “But be­fore an im­por­tant tour of South Africa if you think like that, then it’s not ben­e­fi­cial for the team.

“If I think that I am mak­ing mis­takes and if the Pak­istan team is not win­ning be­cause of me, then I will think about get­ting away from it. And if there is some­one else who is bet­ter suited for the cap­taincy of the Pak­istan team, then I will do.”

New Zealand head home to start a twoTest se­ries against Sri Lanka next week while Pak­istan have one one-day warm-up match in South Africa be­fore start­ing the first of three Tests in Cen­tu­rion on De­cem­ber 26.

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