New Zealand stave off resilient Pakistan to win first Test


New Zealand beat a resilient Pakistan by 101 runs in the last few minutes of the fifth day’s play to go 1-0 up in the two-Test series and reclaim the second spot in the ICC World Test Championship points table.

Pakistan entered the final day in quite a hopeless situation at 71 for three, needing 302 to win with seven wickets in hand. The Kiwis’ strong bowling line-up looked favourites to topple Pakistan in the 90 overs they had at their disposal on the last day.

New Zealand got rid of overnight batsman Azhar Ali in just the second over of the day with pace bowler Trent Boult removing him for 38.

It then seemed that the game would be over in the first session itself. However, Fawad Alam scored a century (102 off 269 balls) and added 165 for the fifth wicket with Mohammed Rizwan, who made his second half-century in the first Test, to parry the New Zealand attack. Rizwan, standing in as captain for regular skipper Babar Azam, made 60 off 191 balls following up on the 71 he made in the first innings.

The duo consumed 62.3 overs of the 90-over day during a flawless display of defensive batting and when they entered the final session it seemed that the game would end in a draw.

However, pace bowler Kyle Jamieson dismissed Rizwan leg before the wicket after a review by New Zealand and soon after Fawad Alam was caught down the leg-side off Neil Wagner while attempting to pull a short delivery, something he had let go during most of the final day’s play.

The floodgates opened and the last four wickets fell for 20 runs in 15 overs.

The last pair of Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi held out for 7.5 overs before Naseem was caught and bowled by Mitchell Santner with just 4.3 overs remaining in the match.

All the five New Zealand bowlers picked two wickets each.

Skipper Kane Williamson got the man-of-the-match award for his 129 in first innings.

Brief scores: New Zealand 431 and 180/5 declared beat Pakistan 239 and 271 (F Alam 102, M Rizwan 60, A Ali 38, T Southee 2/33, K Jamieson 2/35, M Santner 2/52, N Wagner 2/55, T Boult 2/72)

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