It was a week that saw the entire cricket fraternity going emotional with the sudden demise of Aussie opener Phillip Hughes and Aussies’ Trans-Tasmanian rivals New Zealand gave a fitting tribute to the young Australian on his 26th Birthday by dedicating their innings and 80 run victory over Pakistan on the day 4 of the final Test at Sharjah. With this victory, New Zealand levelled the three match series 1-1 after losing the first match at Abu Dhabi and drew the second test at Dubai.
Facing a huge deficit of 339 to make the Kiwis bat again in the second innings, the Pakistani batsmen had no clues against the Kiwi bowlers as they bundled out for a partly score of 259. It all began with the Trent Boult show as the left arm quick removed Shan Masood, Azhar Ali and Younis Khan in quick time to put the hosts on the back-foot straight away. Boult, along with Tim Southee exhibited an extraordinary display of seam bowling on a flat wicket at Sharjah before the first session ended with the scores on 30-3.
In the post lunch session, Mark Craig accounted for both Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq and put the men in green in a spot of bother with the scorecard reading 63-5. It was when Sarfaraz Ahmed joined Asad Shafiq at the crease and he started the counter attack. Sarfraz remained aggressive throughout his innings of 37 off 39 balls which was ended by leggie Ish Sodhi. Sodhi also sent Yasir Shah back to the pavilion at the stroke of tea to put the Kiwis an inch closer to victory. Daniel Vettori had Mohammad Talha leg before for 19 before Asad Shafiq delayed the inevitable by reaching his fifth Test century off just 123 balls. Craig came back, dimissed Shafiq for 137 and Rahat Ali and took his team home. Boult was the pick of the bowlers with a figures of 4-38.
After bundling out Pakistan for 351 in the first innings, New Zealand gave the statisticians a lot of headache during their innings as they created numerous records. Skipper Brendon McCullum set the tone with an aggressive 188 ball 202 and was well supported by Kane Williamson who scored a rather quick 192. Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee and Mark Craig scored fifties which propelled them to their highest ever Test score of 690. None of the bowlers with the exclusion of Rahit Ali managed to apply the brakes on the Kiwis run-rate which resulted the Kiwis to score 22 sixes, which is a record for most number of sixes in a Test innings. Ali finished with figures of 4-99.
Mohammad Hafeez’s 197 and Mark Craig’s 7-94 are the highlights in Pakistan’s first innings total of 351. This match is likely to be the last test match of New Zealand’s legendary spinner Daniel Vettori. Spinner Mark Craig was named the man of the match for his 10 wickets in the match along with a crucial 65 run knock. Mohammad Hafeez was awarded the player of the tournament for scoring 418 runs in the series.
Scorecard: Pakistan 351 and 259 (Shafiq 137, Boult 4-38) lost to New Zealand 690 (McCullum 202, Williamson 192, Rahat 4-99) by 80 runs.