New Zealand Secure First Test Series Win Over Pakistan In 30 Years

New Zealand have won a Test series against Pakistan for the first time in over 30 years after completing a 138-run win in Hamilton today.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying on Pakistan’s part either, but a stunning collapse at the end of day five will make coach Mickey Arthur pull his hair out. After batting themselves into a healthy situation, Pakistan’s batting order collapsed in less than 100 runs. After being 131/0, Pakistan were bowled out for 230.

Neil Wagner took three quick wickets in a deadly spell of bowling that finished the lower order off and delivered the victory. Spinner Mitch Santner broke through with two wickets on either side of the tea break, including the crucial dismissal of Ali and Babar Azam. Tim Southee got a pair, including the experienced Younis Khan, continuing a fine Test match with the ball.

Matt Henry and Colin de Grandhomme also nabbed wickets of their own.

For a long time on day five it looked as though Pakistan, the No.2-ranked Test side, held themselves in within a chance.

Left-handed opener Sami Aslam played his best Test innings to date. Together with his captain, and fellow opener Azhar Ali, Aslam played safe throughout the morning before going on the attack after lunch. With the shine on the new ball disposed of, Aslam was able to play his shots, hitting eight boundaries and a six.

But Aslam was finally defeated just nine runs from a century, notching his highest score in Test cricket, but getting out right as a successful run chase looked likely.

The New Zealanders sensed that victory may be back on the cards, and the wickets followed quickly. The required run rate was rising, and the wickets soon began to tumble for Pakistan.

In large parts, it was a frustrating day of cricket for New Zealand. On a morning where Kane Williamson and his men were expected to take early wickets, Pakistan completely shut the gate and forced many bowling changes.

Needing 369 to win, the Pakistan openers needed to dig in and provide a platform for their middle order to build off. 

In a slow but steady pace, the openers battled through to lunch, going at a run-rate of around two per over. Chasing such a large target, Pakistan knew they couldn’t win the match in the first session of the final day, but a quick loss of wickets could’ve seen them lose it.

The problem for the New Zealand bowlers were that the ball was doing nothing off the pitch, despite heavy overcast conditions. Since becoming captain, Williamson has bowled few overs for New Zealand, but even he got through an over in a bid to get the first breakthrough.

Ali went through to his 23rd Test half-century in an innings that led from the front, exactly what Pakistan were wanting from their captain who had come into this game replacing Misbah-ul-Haq. The right-handed opener is no stranger to digging in either, his highest Test score is 302 not out back in October.

Sadly for Pakistan, Ali couldn’t kick on and was dismissed for 58 when he chopped onto his own stumps. It ended the partnership of 131 between the openers, a stand that lasted 60-overs.