x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Bond stars in Black Caps thriller

The New Zealand fast bowler describes his side's 32-run Test victory of Pakistan as the "perfect comeback" from injury.

Man of the match Shane Bond described New Zealand's first Test win over Pakistan as the "perfect comeback" after his eight for 153 inspired the Black Caps to a tense 32-run victory in Dunedin. Bond, playing his first Test since 2007, claimed a five-wicket haul in the first innings - taking the crucial wickets of Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Akmal - and followed that up with three for 46 in the second innings, including the match-turning wicket of Umar that put the brakes on Pakistan's run chase. Set 251 to win after New Zealand were bowled out for 153 in their second innings, Pakistan needed less than 60 runs with five wickets in hand when Bond had Umar caught and bowled on 75. Then when Iain O'Brien weighed in with two quick wickets as well, despite suffering a dislocated finger, Pakistan's hopes faded.

Bond said: "It was perfect really. It's why you want to play Test cricket because it is a true test and it has mental highs and lows. "It was great cricket and to win in a team that's working so hard as well makes it satisfying. The boys are putting in a lot of hard work and I think we are starting to reap the rewards for it, which is nice." Captain Daniel Vettori was full of praise for his bowlers' efforts, particularly the spell by Bond and O'Brien after tea. "You can't deny the spell by Iain and Shane, both bowling eight or nine overs in a row, just brought us into the game," said Vettori. "To take four bowlers in and for all three seamers to step up with a huge workload was fantastic."

O'Brien's first wicket in the match came when he trapped Kamran Akmal leg before shortly after Umar's dismissal - which saw him miss out on a double in his Test debut following his first-innings knock of 129. It also came after O'Brien, who finished the innings with three for 63, had had to have his finger put back in place a few overs prior. "I saw the pain he was in because his eyes welled up so it must have been agony and it was also out of place," said Vettori of O'Brien's injury. "For him to do that and then get the wicket in the next couple of overs and to just keep coming and coming is a credit." Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf was left to rue dropped catches in the slips following the defeat.

Imran Farhat had a match to forget in the slips, missing several catches including one off Vettori in the first innings when he was on nought. The New Zealand skipper went on to make 99. "The result is disappointing obviously but full credit goes to New Zealand for the way they played and the way they bowled in the second innings," said Yousuf. "We dropped vital catches, otherwise we wouldn't be chasing 250 but I'm pleased with the way the team fought back." Coach Intikhab Alam agreed the fielding would need to improve and that more runs were needed from the senior batsmen after bowlers Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul had given Pakistan the opportunity to win.

"We have to improve our fielding, especially in the slip cordon. We give full credit to the bowlers for the way they bowled in both innings," added Intikhab. "We have to improve our batting for the second Test match (in Wellington which begins on Thursday) and also our slip catching." * PA Sport