Monday, February 6, 2023

New Zealand win first Test against Pakistan despite Fawad Alam’s century

New Zealand win first Test against Pakistan despite Fawad Alam’s century

MOUNT MAUNGANUI (Agencies) - New Zealand defeat Pakistan by 101 runs in the first Test in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday with the final wicket falling with just 27 balls to spare.

Set a target of 373 to win, a 165-run stand for the fifth wicket by Fawad Alam (102) and Mohammad Rizwan (60) kept Pakistan in contention until late in the final session.

But when the pair were dismissed the remaining wickets fell cheaply, although tail-enders Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah blocked for more than seven overs before Naseem was caught and bowled by Mitchell Santner.

For New Zealand, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Santner all took two wickets each.

A 140-run partnership between Fawad Alam and skipper Mohammad Rizwan gave Pakistan hopes of saving the first Test. At tea on day five, Alam was unbeaten on 94, Rizwan was on 45 and Pakistan were 215 for four, setting up a potentially gripping finish.

With 36 overs remaining, Pakistan need 158 to win while New Zealand need six more wickets. A draw would all but end New Zealand’s chance of making the World Test Championship final at Lord’s in June.

Alam and Rizwan have added 140 in 52 overs for the fifth wicket.

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It is Alam’s second-highest score as he, at last, showed the promise expected of him after struggling since his recall against England in August after 11 years in the Test wilderness.

After a few anxious moments at the start of his innings, the left-hander found his rhythm as he worked the ball through the field, bringing up his 50 off 149 deliveries with a single through midwicket.

New Zealand’s strike pair Tim Southee and Trent Boult had seven overs with the new ball late in the middle session but while there were close shaves, there were no serious threats on a pitch not offering as much bounce variation as expected.

When Kyle Jamieson replaced Boult there was a loud appeal to have Rizwan caught at first slip but replays showed it was a bump ball.

Jamieson had earlier been tasked with using up the old ball along with Mitchell Santner and Neil Wagner for the first 15 overs after lunch, with Kane Williamson also sending down two overs in his first bowl for more than a year.

It was a period of containment where they restricted the run flow, but the nearest they came to a wicket was an inside edge from Alam off Jamieson that narrowly missed leg stump.