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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Pakistan's Yasir Shah takes 10 wickets in one day as weather causes chaos in Dubai

Leg-spinner's 8-41 and then the next two New Zealand wickets after forcing the follow on

Yasir Shah's 8-41 figures that have only ever been bettered by Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz in the 66-year history of Test cricket in Pakistan. AFP
Yasir Shah's 8-41 figures that have only ever been bettered by Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz in the 66-year history of Test cricket in Pakistan. AFP

As the Pakistan and New Zealand team buses arrived for Day 3 of the Dubai Test, staff who are usually deployed to direct traffic were more focused on their job than ever before.

The heavy morning rain had had a significant effect near to where the public access the Dubai International Stadium.

The deluge had caused flooding by the roundabout near the entrance, and stewards were helping cars navigate the affected area without getting marooned.

Inside, the wicket remained covered, and play started an hour late. If ever a day in the UAE felt as though it might provide some assistance to seam bowlers, this was it.

Yasir Shah, though, never gave them a chance. Instead of morning moisture providing swing, it was Yasir who profited most. To the tune, in fact, of the third best bowling figures ever by a Pakistan bowler.

The leg-spinner took 8-41, figures that have only ever been bettered by Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz in the 66-year history of Test cricket in Pakistan.

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He then took the first two wickets after New Zealand had been invited to follow on. It was the first time a player from Pakistan has taken 10 wickets in a day, and the first time that has happened anywhere in Test cricket in 19 years.

There was no hint that history was about to be made when New Zealand reached 50 for no loss in their first innings.

But the tourists then went into an extraordinary spiral, losing all 10 wickets for 40 runs in just under 14 overs, all brought about by Yasir and his sharply-turning leg-breaks.

Yasir said he had hoped for success in the match, as the team bus made it through the rain to get to the ground, but did not anticipate quite such a remarkable return.

“When I was making my way to the ground in the morning, I was hoping to get 10 wickets in the match, but didn’t expect 10 wickets in a day,” Yasir said. “Thankfully, I got 10 wickets in a day, and we’ll try to get more in the remaining eight wickets."

New Zealand had reached 131-2 by the close, still requiring another 197 to make Pakistan bat again.

Significantly, Kane Williamson was one of the two departed batsmen. The best of Yasir’s 10 wickets in the day was the one that dismissed the New Zealand captain in the second innings, a perfectly executed leg-break that needed the intervention of the TV umpire to confirm it had clipped the outside edge.

Yasir said Williamson’s wicket was his favourite of the haul, and also said he was relieved to be back in form after a long lay-off and a challenging series against Australia.

“Against Australia, I wasn’t as successful as I am here because I was still recovering from an injury,” Yasir said.

“It takes a while to get the rhythm back. I think I bowled decently in that series as well but now I have got my rhythm back.”