New Zealand wraps up big win against Pakistan
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Fast bowler Trent Boult’s four-wicket haul led New Zealand to a resounding innings and 80-run victory against Pakistan with a day to spare in the third and final test to level the series 1-1 Sunday.
Asad Shafiq fought a lone battle with a career-best 137 off 148 balls as Pakistan was bowled out for 259 in 63.3 overs after the Black Caps set a new national record score of 690 for a massive lead of 339 runs.
The decisive test was extended by a day after the second day’s play was abandoned in memory of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, who died on Thursday after being struck by a ball.
“Our thoughts were elsewhere, proud of the guys for sticking together,” McCullum said after he racked up a double century in a strong New Zealand total. “The circumstances in Australia made us go out there and try and enjoy whatever we could from the game.”
Boult did the early damage with three quick wickets and then ended Shafiq’s aggressive resistance to finish with 4-38.
The much trumpeted Pakistan middle-order, which scored 15 centuries in the last five test matches, caved in against offspinner Mark Craig, who took 3-109 to finish the match with 10-203.
New Zealand lost the first test by 248 runs, but quickly adapted to the slow wickets in the United Arab Emirates by forcing Pakistan to draw the second test and then notched only its eighth victory in 53 test matches against Pakistan.
“We were destroyed in the first test and we’re pleased to come back like this,” McCullum said. “Hopefully we’ll do well in the one-day series with the World Cup around the corner.”
Boult and Craig had reduced Pakistan to 5-63 before Shafiq cut loose and hit 18 fours and six sixes to delay the inevitable and better his previous test best of 130 made against South Africa at Dubai last year.
Boult started the Pakistan slide when in his second over he found Shan Masood’s thick outside edge that was brilliantly snapped up by Tim Southee at third slip. Azhar Ali misread Boult’s good length delivery, didn’t offer a shot as the ball slanted in and knocked back his off stump.
Boult then dealt Pakistan a severe blow just before lunch when Khan was out lbw for a golden duck for the first time in eight years.
Pakistan further slipped after lunch when Mohammad Hafeez (24) offered a tame return catch to Craig and Misbah-ul-Haq (12) was superbly caught by wicketkeeper BJ Watling diving to his right after the ball brushed the Pakistan captain’s gloves and lobbed in the air.
Shafiq put on a dominating 78-run ninth-wicket stand with Rahat Ali before top edging a pull shot off Boult and Craig had Ali neatly caught by McCullum to finish off Pakistan’s resistance.
Misbah said Hughes’ death affected his players after Pakistan was in the driving seat at 281-3 on the first day before losing the last seven wickets for just 70 runs when play resumed after a day’s break.
“It was really difficult to bat (on Friday) and carry on after what happened in Australia,” Misbah said. “Full credit to New Zealand, they outplayed us the way they batted ... and once momentum goes it’s difficult to turn it back.”
Earlier, New Zealand frustrated Pakistan further with No. 8 batsman Craig scoring 65 off 85 balls before he was caught and bowled by Hafeez.
Sodhi (22) also hit a six and a four before he looped a catch to Khan in the slips off a mistimed sweep to give legspinner Shah his fourth wicket of the innings.
Fast bowler Mohammad Talha and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar had forgettable test matches with the pair conceding 271 runs between them without taking a wicket. New Zealand clobbered world-record 22 sixes in its innings and
in all 35 sixes were hit in the test matches, which ironically is also the most ever hit in a test match by both teams.
The teams will next play two Twenty20 games, starting on Thursday before the five-match one-day series begins on Dec. 8.