Sat, Dec 08, 2018 - Page 16 News List

NZ spin to rare away series win over hapless Pakistan


New Zealand spinner Will Somerville bowls during the third Test against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Debutant Will Somerville yesterday grabbed three key wickets to guide New Zealand to their first away Test series win over Pakistan in 49 years with a crushing 123-run win in the third and final match.

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.

They crumbled to 156 in 56.1 overs on a weary pitch at the 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 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 previous away series win against Pakistan was a 1-0 victory in matches played in Pakistan in 1969.

Somerville, who took 4-75 in the first innings, 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 resistance before getting the final wicket when he dismissed Hasan Ali for 4, 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 before he retires from Test cricket, was bowled by paceman Tim Southee for 8.

Medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme had first-innings centurion Azhar Ali caught behind for 5 before Somerville’s double strike pushed Pakistan to 55-5 at lunch.

Somerville had Haris Sohail caught off a tentative push in the slip with his third ball of the first over for 9 and next ball had first-innings centurion Asad Shafiq caught behind off the glove.

In the final 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 353-7 after about 45 minutes of batting with Henry Nicholls remaining unbeaten on 126 and Kane Williamson dismissed at his overnight score of 139.

Their 212-run stand — which brought New Zealand back into the game on Thursday — was broken with the first ball of yesterday.

Medium-pacer Hasan Ali trapped Williamson leg before wicket and even a review did not prolong the New Zealand skipper’s innings.

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 4-129 and debutant paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi took 2-85.

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