Spin twins help Kiwis to surprise away win
– Debutant Will Somerville (right) 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 off 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.
Their last away series win against Pakistan was a 1-0 victory 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 we will remember it for a long time.”
It was the Kiwis’ fifth series win in their last six since November 2016. They beat Pakistan, Bangladesh, the West Indies and England – all at home – with the single loss 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 Mohammad Hafeez, in his last innings before retiring, was bowled by fast bowler Tim Southee for eight.
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 at slip with his third ball of the first over for nine and next ball had first-innings centurion Asad Shafiq caught behind.
In the last over before lunch Imam-ul-Haq fell to forward short-leg off Patel for 22. – AFP