x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pakistan clinch first Test Series win in five years

The captain Misbah-ul-Haq opts against going for a 2-0 series sweep in New Zealand and guides the team to a draw in Wellington.

Pakistan players celebrate winning their first Test series in five years.
Pakistan players celebrate winning their first Test series in five years.

WELLINGTON // Pakistan clinched a 1-0 series win and their first Test series victory for five years after securing a draw against New Zealand in the second Test.

Chasing 274 for victory on the final day, Pakistan looked well placed to push for a 2-0 series clean sweep when they reached tea at 160 for four.

However Pakistan were unwilling to risk a rare series victory and took a no-risk approach in the final session to ensure a draw.

New Zealand took three wickets in the opening session to boost chances of a rare win of their own, but Younus Khan (81) and the captain Misbah-ul-Haq (70 not out) ground out a patient innings to deny the home team.

“We saw the series as more important than this test,” Misbah said at the post-game presentation.

“Younus Khan batted well in both innings and Umar Gul did well in the last Test, but everybody is contributing and that’s really good to see.”

The series win provided an overdue return of pride to Pakistan cricket, which had seen its international reputation further tarnished since its previous series victory against the West Indies in 2006.

Pakistan has been immersed in yet another corruption scandal arising from their tour of England last year – which deprived the team of key players for this series – while also being stripped of of co-hosting next month’s World Cup due to security failures.

New Zealand remains stuck in a rut of poor performances and will be hoping for a form turnaround in the upcoming one-day games to deliver some confidence and optimism ahead of the World Cup.

“We couldn’t quite play catch-up in this test and that is because Pakistan were on top after Hamilton,” said the captain Daniel Vettori, who was able to take only one wicket in 34 overs on the final day when much of his team’s hopes rested on his arm.

“We now focus on getting our combinations right for the one-dayers and the World Cup.”