Pakistan draw first Test against New Zealand after daring declaration - GulfToday

Pakistan draw first Test against New Zealand after daring declaration


Tom Latham (R) listens to Pakistan's Babar Azam (C) on the end of the first Test match in Karachi on Friday. AP

Poor visibility ended a thrilling final session of cricket in the drawn first test Friday after New Zealand had threatened to snatch victory following Pakistan's daring declaration.

Chasing 138 to win in 15 overs, New Zealand was at 61-1 in only the eighth over of the second innings when the Test finished early because of bad light.

Pakistan resumed after tea at 249-7 in its second innings - a lead of 75 - and Kiwi legspinner Ish Sodhi (6-86) threatened to set his team up for victory.

Lefthanded Saud Shakeel made an unbeaten 55 and got plenty of support from the two tailenders, Mohammad Wasim (43) and Mir Hamza (3 not out). They did so well that Pakistan captain Babar Azam caught the visitors by surprise and declared at 311-8 late in the final session.

It set New Zealand, which scored 612-9 declared in the first innings, a tempting target and the visitors went for it. Tom Latham was unbeaten on 35 and Devon Conway was not out on 18 when the light intervened to potentially save Pakistan from its fifth straight test defeat at home.

Imam-NZTest Imam-ul Haq plays a shot during the fourth day of first Test in Karachi.

Sodhi was the star as he improved on his previous best of 4-60 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo four years ago.

The 30-year-old, playing his first Test in four years, turned the match in New Zealand's favour with three wickets in the second session to leave Pakistan on 249-7 at tea with 35 overs left in the match.

But Saud Shakeel, who ended with 55 not out, and Mohammad Wasim (43) defied for 75 minutes and 111 balls during their 71-run eighth wicket stand to deprive New Zealand of a win.

PakvsNZ-KarachiTest  Tom Latham (L) and teammates appeal unsuccessful LBW out of Pakistan's Nauman Ali (C) during the fourth day of first Test match in Karachi. AP

Soon after tea, Sodhi trapped Wasim leg-before, but Mir Hamza (three not out) assisted Shakeel in a ninth-wicket unbroken stand of 34 runs in 50 minutes to further frustrate the visitors.

Shakeel, who hit seven boundaries and a six, built on after fighting knocks from Imam-ul-Haq (96) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (53) in the first two sessions.

Tim Southee, captaining his side for the first time in a Test, admitted Pakistan's batters took the game away.

"There was a bit of assistance if bowled in the right areas, but a couple of good innings took the game to safety for them," he said. But he also had praise for Sodhi, saying: "I think he can be extremely proud of his return to Test cricket."

Kiwiplayers-PakTest New Zealand's players celebrate during the fourth day of first Test in Karachi.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam defended his bold declaration. "We wanted to get a result — as I said at the toss — and we went for the declaration, but the light was not good enough," he said.

"Wasim and Saud brought us back in the match. Credit to them for playing positive cricket."

In the post-lunch session, Sodhi dismissed Sarfaraz, Agha Salman (six) and Haq in the space of 27 balls for the addition of just 21 runs. Haq and Sarfaraz had added a defiant 85 runs for the fifth wicket and raised hopes of salvaging a draw for the home team before Sodhi struck.

He had Sarfaraz caught behind, bowled Salman, then got Haq stumped to leave Pakistan on 206-7.

Haq, who survived lbw referrals off the bowler on 58 and 74, cracked 10 boundaries and a six in his sixth half-century, while Sarfaraz had seven hits to the rope.

So incensed was he by his dismissal, Haq smashed a chair with his bat on the way to the dressing room. Resuming on 77-2, Pakistan lost nightwatchman Nauman Ali early, trapped leg-before by spinner Bracewell.



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