New Zealand snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi courtesy debutant’s Ajaz Patel five-wicket haul and with it took a 1-0 series lead.The away side in the process defended their second smallest total, only their second total below the 200-run mark.
Pakistan was chasing a modest total of 176 after Hasan Ali and Yasir Shah took five wickets each and it was smooth sailing for them with Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali at the crease.
The match turned on its head after Neil Wagner struck to have Shafiq caught behind which opened the door for the tourists.
In a dramatic turn of events Pakistan slumped from being 130 for 3 to being bowled out for 171 to hand the Black Caps a four-run win.
It was Pakistan’s fourth worst collapse in their Test history.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was despondent in the post-match presentation with the loss and rightly so as it was Pakistan’s narrowest loss in terms of runs in Tests.
It was the second such loss for the home side in as many years as they lost against Sri Lanka by 21 runs at the very same venue. It is no surprise that Rangana Herath caused the damage then, taking 6 for 43.
The Mumbai-born left-arm spinner took 5 for 59 to trigger the collapse and backed his impressive 2/64 in the first innings.
Patel was deservedly the Man of the Match and became part of an elite list for his side, being only the fifth player from New Zealand to win the Man of the Match on his Test debut.
Patel’s figures were the second best for a New Zealand spinner on debut. Interestingly, he is the only Kiwi spinner to do that since 2000.
The last New Zealand bowler to take a five-wicket haul on debut was Colin de Grandhomme who took 6 for 41 in Christchurch in 2016.
Pakistan will be hurt and hope to avenge the defeat in the second Test which starts on November 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium but it won’t find it easy against a side which has the best record in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Tests despite their limited experience.
First Published: November 19, 2018, 7:38 PM IST