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New Zealand Clinch Abu Dhabi Test to Seal Historic Series Win Against Pakistan

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: December 7, 2018, 10:06 PM IST
New Zealand Clinch Abu Dhabi Test to Seal Historic Series Win Against Pakistan

(Twitter/ICC)

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New Zealand bowlers hunted in packs on the final day of the third Test to give their team a superb 123-run victory over Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday (December 7). This is their first away series win against Pakistan since 1969.

New Zealand rode on Kane Williamson (139) and Henry Nicholls' (126*) brilliant centuries to set up a 280-run target for Pakistan with a minimum of 79 overs to spare. The visiting side, who conceded 74-run lead in the first essay, managed 353 for 7 in 113 overs before declaring their second innings. In reply, Pakistan looked clueless against New Zealand bowlers and were bundled out for 156 in 56.1 overs.

PAK v NZ table

Pakistan got off to a disastrous start in their second innings with Tim Southee knocking over Mohammad Hafeez for a mere eight runs with a peach of a delivery in his final Test innings. Hafeez, who announced his retirement from Test cricket recently, would have been out in the very first over if Williamson didn't drop him at gully. First-innings centurion Azhar Ali too couldn't survive for long, falling caught behind off Colin de Grandhomme away-swinger for five runs.

Skipper Williamson finally introduced spin in the 17th over and after watching Ajaz Patel get ample purchase from the surface, also brought William Somerville into the attack. Somerville straightaway made an impact by dismissing Haris Sohail (9) and Asad Shafiq (nought) in consecutive deliveries to break the backbone of the hosts' batting line-up. While Sohail ended up edging a flighted delivery to Ross Taylor at first slip, Shafiq managed to glove a delivery - that was going down leg - to the wicketkeeper.

Amidst all the chaos, Imam-ul-Haq played a couple of attacking shots before inside-edging one straight to forward short leg at the stroke of lunch.

Having been reduced to 55 for 5, captain Sarfraz Ahmed took the counter-attacking approach and smashed a couple of solid strokes square of the wicket. Sarfraz added 43 runs for the sixth wicket with Babar Azam before getting knocked over by Somerville for 28. Bilal Asif (12) stuck around for a while before falling to Southee's trap.

Azam showed good resilience and brought up his ninth fifty in this format. He was batting well before he played an outrageous heave that saw the ball balloon into the hands of the mid-off fielder. In his 114-ball 51, Azam hit five boundaries but his departure saw the final wall of resistance broken down for the home side and eventually it gave New Zealand a historic win.

For New Zealand, Southee, Ajaz and Somerville scalped three wickets each while de Grandhomme chipped in with the crucial blow of Azhar.

Earlier, resuming the final day on 272 for 4, Williamson was pinned right in front of the stumps on the very first delivery. Hasan Ali managed to bring that delivery in and that's what did the trick for him. However, the other overnight batsman Nicholls got the ball rolling with a couple of boundaries that helped him to bring up his third Test century.

The moment he went past the 100-run mark, Nicholls started playing his shots and got good support from De Grandhomme (26) and Southee (15*) who chipped in with handy cameos and gave New Zealand a match-winning platform.
First Published: December 7, 2018, 5:37 PM IST
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