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For the second match in a row, Pakistan have snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat against New Zealand in a Test match.
While last week’s match was unnecessarily dramatic due to a rash declaration by Babar Azam, the finish to the Pakistan vs New Zealand second Test earlier today was entirely down to a tight contest. Ultimately the two Test series has ended in a 0-0 drawn series, however the result on paper doesn’t testify to how tense and entertaining the final hours of the Pakistan vs New Zealand second Test was. Bad light again saved Pakistan, but only before New Zealand came within a whisker of snatching a rare Test series win in Asia at the death.
Here’s a look at how the match unfolded, and what’s next for these two sides in international cricket.
Groundhog Day in Pakistan vs New Zealand Second Test
You could be forgiven for blinking, rubbing your eyes, and thinking you were watching the first Test between Pakistan and New Zealand across the first three days of play in this match.
While last week Pakistan batted first whereas this week New Zealand came out first, the cumulative result was the same this week. Both teams batted big and long—this time, putting on 857 runs between them and consuming just over three days of play. After the first innings, New Zealand held a slight 41 run lead, but the big issue appeared to be time left in the match.
For New Zealand, it was again Tom Latham and Devon Conway who built the innings. Latham made a solid 71 off 100 balls, while Conway anchored and racked up 122 from 191 balls. Williamson and Nicholls both got starts, while Tom Blundell also made a half century. However, the real entertainment came from Matt Henry, who scored 68 off 81 and put on a 104 run final stand with Ajaz Patel to take New Zealand through to a respectable total.
In reply, Pakistan looked a little shaky at 99/3, before stablising and also making 400+. Imam-ul-Haq was solid at the top of the order for his 83 off 165, but it was Saud Shakeel and Sarfaraz Ahmed who combined for the bulk of Pakistan’s runs, scoring 125* and 78 respectively. Spin took the bulk of the wickets across both innings, with Abrar Ahmed claiming four, and Michael Bracewell plus Ish Sodhi taking three each.
Pakistan vs New Zealand Second Test Races Towards Result
Despite the slow start, this match still managed to head towards a result across the final two days.
New Zealand batted again and while they certainly didn’t play Bazball, moved along at a healthy 3.38 runs per over. Southee then made a bold declaration at 277/5 after Latham made another half century, and Michael Bracewell and Tom Blundell both made 74. Setting Pakistan 319 to win with 93 overs remaining in the match, New Zealand were certainly risking defeat in the name of victory.
The declaration looked to have been well timed when the Black Caps picked up two wickets for no runs late in the fourth day. However, another excellent innings from Sarfaraz Ahmed gave New Zealand cause for concern, as Pakistan sat at 202/5 needing less than 4.5 runs per over to win. Steady wickets from one end kept New Zealand in it however, and ultimately gave fans an enthralling last hour’s play when Sarafaraz got out on 118 with 32 runs left to get and a half dozen over remaining to be bowled.
Fading light saw New Zealand restricted to spinners, and the final two Pakistani batsmen looked remarkably comfortable, reducing the deficit further down to 15. However, light was again to have the final say, as the umpires called time with two overs left to be bowled. Ultimately, New Zealand were one good ball away from a series win in Asia.
The two sides will now turn their attention to 50 over cricket, where they’ll play a three-match ODI series in Pakistan.