Spinners secure New Zealand a historic series victory
AFP- 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 three for 52 and was aided by fellow spinner Ajaz Patel’s three for 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.
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 four for 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 off to a disastrous start when Mohammad 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 for five 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.
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 Williamson dismissed at his overnight score of 139.
New Zealand: 274 and 353/7 declared (K.williamson 139,R.taylor 22,H.nicholls 126 n.o,c.de Grandhomme 26, Shaheen 2/85,Yasir 4/129)
Pakistan: 348 and 156 (I. ul-haq 22, B. Azam 51,S.ahmed 28,Southee 3/42,Patel 3/42, Somerville 3/52).
New Zealand cricketers pose with the Trophy