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Series ends in dramatic draw

Saturday 7 January 2023 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports


Pakistan vs New Zealand – 2nd Test – Day 5 – New Zealand 1st innings – 449 all out in 131 overs (Latham 71, Conway 122, Blundell 51, Matt Henry 68*, Naseem 3/71, Salman 3/75, Abrar 4/149). Pakistan 1st innings – 408 all out in 133 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 83, Saud Shakeel 125*, Sarfaraz 78, Patel 3/88, Sodhi 3/95). New Zealand 2nd innings – 277 for 5 declared in 82 overs (Latham 62, Blundell 74, Bracewell 74*, Salman 1/42). Pakistan 2nd innings – 304 for 9 in 90 overs (Bracewell 4/75, Southee 2/43, Sodhi 2/59)

As I said in my earlier report (see only two results seemed possible going into day five. A draw or a Black Caps victory. A draw it was in the end but not before the pendulum swung to and fro from one team to another until play finally had to be stopped due to bad light.

The day started perfectly for the Black Caps – 0 for 2 became 80 for 5 thanks to some ordinary batting by Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood. Imam stepping out only to be bowled through the gate. Masood came down the track too but didn’t get to the pitch of the ball and skied one to Kane Williamson at mid-off. Babar Azam was unlucky when he feathered one down the leg side. A New Zealand victory seemed inevitable.

Cometh the hour cometh the men and in came two Karachi locals, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Saud Shakeel. Ahmed has had a dream return to international cricket. When the chips were down he once again played his game of keeping the scoreboard moving with his usual busy style of play. At the other end the patience personified Shakeel dead batted everything.

After five tests Shakeel averages 72.50. Pakistan cricket will be hoping he can continue this level of consistency for a long time. Their 123-run partnership was just what Pakistan needed. Consolidation without giving up the hope for victory.

The Black Caps heaved a sigh of relief when Shakeel fell but it didn’t last long as Ahmed and new man Agha Salman upped the ante and really started pushing for the win. They put on 70 in 83 balls during which Ahmed brought up his century.

A last innings hundred on day five is as rare as hen’s teeth. Just when Ahmed looked like he was determined to get Pakistan across the line there was a further twist in the tale. Salman fell and started a mini collapse which saw Hasan Ali and Ahmed both dismissed in quick succession. Pakistan 287 for 9 needing a further 32 to win but with only the last pair of Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed at the crease.

Once again the Black Caps were favourites but Pakistan’s last pair held on with a 17 run partnership in 21 balls until the umpires stopped play due to the fading light. Both tests ended in draw which meant the series ended in a draw and the trophy was shared. The cricket though has been very exciting. Who said draws are boring?