Black Caps claim Test se­ries

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport -

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 123run win in the third and fi­nal cricket Test on Fri­day in Abu Dhabi.

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 280-run tar­get in 79 overs.

They crum­bled to 156 in 56.1 overs on a wear­ing pitch at Sheikh Zayed Sta­dium.

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.

It was the Black Caps’ 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 com­ing against SA.

Somerville, who took four for 75 in the first in­nings to fin­ish with seven wick­ets in the match, broke a stub­born 43run 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.

They were off to a dis­as­trous start when Mo­ham­mad Hafeez, in his last in­nings be- fore 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 slips with his third ball of the first over for nine and next ball had an­other first in­nings cen­tu­rion, Asad Shafiq, caught be­hind off the glove.

In the last over be­fore lunch Imam-ul-Haq, watch­ing four wick­ets fall 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 for seven af­ter some 45 min­utes of bat­ting, with Henry Ni­cholls re­main­ing un­beaten on 126 and Kane Wil­liamson dis­missed at his overnight score of 139. That 212-run stand 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. But his 283-ball knock, con­tain­ing 13 bound­aries, turned the match.

Ni­cholls took a sharp sin­gle to com­plete his third Test hun­dred and fin­ished with 12 fours dur­ing his 266-ball knock.

De Grand­homme struck two bound­aries and two sixes as New Zealand added 81 runs in 45 min­utes, en­sur­ing they set up a daunt­ing tar­get for Pak­istan. Leg-spin­ner Yasir Shah fin­ished with four for 129 and debu­tant pace­man Sha­heen Shah Afridi took two for 85. – AFP

Pho­to­graph: AFP

ON YOUR WAY: New Zealand spin­ner Will Somerville, cen­tre, cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter tak­ing the wicket of Pak­istan’s cap­tain, Sar­fraz Ahmed, front right, on Fri­day in the de­cid­ing Test

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