Black Caps produced a 123-run win in the deciding Test in Abu Dhabi to claim a first series win away to Pakistan since 1969
Kane Williamson 'proud' of New Zealand's historic Test series win over Pakistan
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said his side’s historic victory over Pakistan in the three-match Test series in the UAE will live long in the memory.
With the series tied at 1-1, New Zealand delivered an emphatic 123-run win in the deciding Test in Abu Dhabi on Friday. It was a first series win in the UAE for New Zealand, their first in Asia since 2008, and their first away to Pakistan since 1969.
New Zealand took the lead in the series with a remarkable four-run win in the opener, also in Abu Dhabi, before Pakistan struck back with an innings-and-16-runs victory in Dubai.
The Black Caps clinched the decider after bowling Pakistan out for 146, with second-innings centuries from Williamson and Henry Nicholls laying the foundations. Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, and William Somerville all then took three wickets each to inflict a just the second UAE-based Test series defeat on Pakistan.
“It’s a fantastic series to be a part of,” said Williamson, who led his team from the front with 89 and 139 in the final Test.
“To go one-all and then have the deciding match that goes five days with both teams in with a chance of a result on the last day proves it was a special series.
“Certainly from our prospective to have won the series against a side like Pakistan who are formidable on these conditions was very special.
“The first game was close and then Pakistan came back and won convincingly. To bounce back and put out a performance in the deciding match is what we were proud of.”
New Zealand entered the Test series after losing the Twenty20 series 3-0, and drawing the one-day internationals 1-1. The deciding match was abandoned because of rain, with New Zealand arguably in the ascendancy.
“We knew it would be a competitive series in all formats and then to come with a series win in the Tests against a strong side like Pakistan is a great game that the guys will remember for sure,” Williamson said.
“Without a doubt I’m proud of these guys. Many of them were inexperienced in terms of international exposure but they have played a lot of domestic cricket.”
Williamson top-scored in the Test series with 386 runs for an average 77.20. Ajaz Patel, making his debut in the first Test, was the match winner in the first game, claiming figures of 7-123. He went on to finish with 13 wickets in the series.
The Cricket Pod:
William Somerville, making his Test debut in the decider, produced figures of 7-127.
“These two guys making their debut on this tour and to perform the way they did was outstanding,” added Williamson. “We know the surface offers to slower bowlers but to get that reward you need to bowl a lot of overs.
“That’s the only way you can put batsmen under pressure from a team like Pakistan. They stepped up and showed the class they have and that made such an impact in the series.”
The two spinners, Patel and Somerville, were not the only ones to play key roles, with each member of the team chipping in with useful contributions, particularly Nicholls’ unbeaten 126 in the second innings of the deciding Test.
“To work so hard for three-and-half weeks with the Test format and to come out with a win is special to look back on and learn as well,” added Williamson. “I don’t think it was a perfect game from either side. I think Pakistan played close to a perfect game in Dubai but it was a tough fight.”
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was naturally disappointed with the manner in which they lost the deciding match.
“It hurts, when you lose how we did in the first Test and now the deciding match,” he said. “We had our chances but we could not grab them. If you talk of the first Test we bowled them out for a low score but did not take a big lead. Here too we did not take a big lead and had to pay for that.”
Pakistan head to South Africa for a three-Test series, starting from December 26, followed by five ODIs and three T20Is. New Zealand will be at home against Sri Lanka in two Tests, starting from December 15, followed by three ODIs and a lone T20I.