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Four talking points from first Test between Pakistan, New Zealand

Kiwis snatched victory from jaws of defeat on fourth day of Abu Dhabi Test

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan went on to lose the first Test match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi after a dramatic turn of events on the fourth day.

Despite an early wobble in the morning session, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali got Pakistan back on track with a 82-run stand for the fourth wicket. But once Shafiq departed — on the stroke of lunch — things went pear-shaped for Pakistan.

The home side lost their final seven wickets of the innings with the addition of just 41 runs to the total — enabling New Zealand to register a four-run victory and take a one-nil lead in the three-match series.  

Lets take a look at the factors which had a major say on the outcome of the Test match.

Pakistan failed to capitalise in first innings

Despite an efficient bowling performance from the Pakistan bowlers in the first innings, the batsmen failed to press home the advantage by only managing a 74-run lead. This kept New Zealand in the hunt rather than being batted out of the game.

An improved batting effort in the first innings would have made life difficult for New Zealand in the second innings. Bearing in mind Pakistan batting fragility — especially while chasing in the fourth innings of a Test match — it was imperative that the batsmen should have approached the innings with a more focused attitude.

Partnership between Watling and Nicholls  

New Zealand were in a precarious position in the second innings at the score of 108-4 with ,both, captain Kane Williamson and experienced middle-order batsman Ross Taylor back in the hut.

At this point, BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls stitched together a brilliant 112-run stand for the fifth wicket to put Kiwis in a safer position. Although the Blackcaps could only set Pakistan a 176-run target but it could have been a lot less and a walk in the park for Pakistan without that partnership.

Bizarre decision making cost Pakistan batsmen in second innings

While chasing a target of just 176 runs, Pakistan batsmen were guilty of some bizarre decision making.

Opener Mohammad Hafeez and middle-order batsman Haris Sohail went back to the pavilion courtesy couple of soft dismissals. Babar Azam was run out as he tried to attempt an unlikely single along with Azhar.

Gone are the days when the tailenders were mere spectators when it came to contributing with the bat but Pakistan’s tail in the second innings showed exactly that. Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali got out on deliveries which could have been easily left alone rather than seeking expansive looking shots.     

Memorable debut for Aijaz Patel

There isn’t a better way to kickstart your Test career than bowling a match-winning spell on your debut appearance, kudos Mr Patel!

Patel wasn’t that effective in the first innings but in the second innings he did not put a foot wrong. The left-arm spinner varied his pace smartly and bowled on an accurate line and length for majority of the innings — which made an already panicking Pakistan run-chase even more difficult.

He claimed seven wickets in the match — two in the first and five-wicket haul in the second — and was rightfully decaled the player of the match.

Both teams will now head to Dubai for the second Test match of the series, which is scheduled to begin on November 24.