Pakistan hold New Zealand for a draw

Pakistan hold New Zealand for a draw
KARACHI: December 30 - Pakistan Cricket Team Captain, Babar Azam and New Zealand's Captain Tim Southee pose for photo during ceremony after the fifth and final day of the first Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand, resulted drawn at the National Stadium-APP

KARACHI, Dec 30 (APP):Pakistan ended their four-match losing streak at home after brave and gutsy half-centuries by Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel and Sarfraz Ahmed denied New Zealand a chance to go 1-0 up in the two-Test series at the National Bank Cricket Arena on Friday.

Resuming the fifth and last day at 77 for two and still needing 97 runs to make New Zealand bat again, Pakistan looked down and out when they slipped to 206 for seven (32 runs ahead) with 49 overs still remaining in the match.

Pakistan hold New Zealand for a draw

However, the eighth and ninth wicket partnerships between Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Wasim Junior, and Saud and Mir Hamza, respectively helped Pakistan to declare their second innings at 311 for eight.

That set New Zealand a daunting but an achievable 138 runs target in 17 overs, and when both the teams shook hands due to a fading light, the visitors were 61 for one in 7.3 overs.

New Zealand, who had last won a Test in Pakistan in Lahore in 1969, were on course to break the 53-year win drought when they left Saud Shakeel to battle out the remaining 49 overs in the day with the tail-enders.

Saud had twice squandered the opportunity to help Pakistan win Tests against England earlier this month, but this time he was equal to the task when he returned undefeated on 55 from 138 minutes of watchful and laborious batting during which he received 108 balls and struck seven fours and a six.

Saud not only conjured up his fifth half-century in fourth Test, he added 75 runs for the eighth wicket from 111 balls (71 minutes) with Mohammad Wasim Junior, while he put on 34 runs from 82 balls (50 minutes) for the unbroken ninth wicket with Mir Hamza.

Wasim showed his batting exploits and skills at probably the best time in his early days as an international cricketer when he not only survived 57 balls but also scored 43 runs with five fours and a six. Mir Hamza kept New Zealand bowlers at bay for 34 balls while scoring three not out.

Earlier, Pakistan starting the day at 77 for two, plunged into a crisis when nightwatchman Noman Ali (four) and captain Babar Azam (14) returned to the dressing room in a space of 34 balls to leave the home side in a bother at 100 for four and still needing 74 runs to make New Zealand bat again. Both the batters were adjudged leg before off Michael Bracewell and Ish Sodhi, respectively.

Pakistan hold New Zealand for a draw

At that stage, Imam and Sarfaraz got together in a rescue act and added 85 runs for the fifth wicket before crisis struck Pakistan again.

Sarfaraz, immediately after reaching his second half-century of the match, paid the price for attempting a shot to a wide Sodhi delivery and was caught at the wicket, first innings centurion Salman Ali Agha missed a wrong-un from Sodhi and was bowled before Imam’s fighting knock ended when he was deceived by Sodhi to be smartly stumped by Tom Blundell.

Sarfaraz’s 53 came off 76 balls and included seven fours, while Imam was unlucky to miss his fourth Test century when he was dismissed for 96. His 206-ball knock was laced with 10 fours and a six.

New Zealand were brilliant in the field on the fifth day.

Ish Sodhi recorded his maiden five-fer while finishing with career-best figures of 36.5-11-86-6, while wicketkeeper Tom Blundell accounted for three Pakistan batters in the second innings to finish with seven dismissals in the match.

Pakistan hold New Zealand for a draw

The second Test will commence at the National Bank Cricket Arena on Monday, 2 January.
Scores in brief
Pakistan (1st innings) 438, 130.5 overs (Babar Azam 161, Salman Ali Agha 103, Sarfaraz Ahmed 86, Imam-ul-Haq 24, Saud Shakeel 22; Tim Southee 3-69, Michael Bracewell 2-72, Ish Sodhi 2-87, Ajaz Patel 2-112) and 311-8d (Imam-ul-Haq 96, Saud Shakeel 55 not out, Sarfaraz Ahmed 53, Mohammad Wasim 43; Ish Sodhi 6-86, Michael Bracewell 2-82)
New Zealand (1st innings) 612-9d, 194.5 overs (Kane Williamson 200 not out, Tom Latham 113, Devon Conway 92, Ish Sodhi 65; Abrar Ahmed 5-205, Noman Ali 3-185) and 61-1 (Tom Latham 35 not out)
Player of the match – Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Result – Match drawn