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The Wisden Bulletin by Lynn McConnell
December 29, 2003
Close Pakistan 196 and 246 for 3 (Youhana 73*, Inzamam 57*) need 28 more to beat New Zealand 366 and 103 (Shoaib 6-30)
Shoaib Akhtar: destroyed New Zealand with a stunning performance
Pakistan capitalised on a devastating spell of fast bowling by Shoaib Akhtar to all but ensure victory in the second Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. Shoaib continued his liking for the New Zealand batsmen by taking 6 for 30 as they lost an incredible seven wickets for eight runs to be all out for 103.
Pakistan, needing 274 for victory, ended the day on 246 for 3, just 28 away from their target. Yousuf Youhana was unbeaten on 73, with Inzamam-ul-Haq on 57.
New Zealand's collapse was reminiscent of their surrender against the same opponents in 2000-01, when they lost nine wickets for 26 at Auckland. Their destroyer then had been Mohammad Sami; this time, Sami didn't even need to bowl on the fourth day as Shoaib, with some assistance from Shabbir Ahmed, ran through the New Zealand line-up.
New Zealand resumed at 75 for 3 and made their way to 95 before the dismissal of Mark Richardson, caught behind driving at a ball from Shoaib for 41. So often the anchor of the line-up, Richardson's departure set in train a regular procession of wickets.
Scott Styris launched into a drive off his first ball from Shoaib and inside-edged it onto his leg stump. Craig McMillan would probably still be wondering how he kept out the hat-trick ball - a fast, inswinging yorker which he just about managed to negotiate.
Next over, though, McMillan contrived to run out Daryl Tuffey, who had till then negotiated the fast bowlers quite competently. McMillan played Shabbir on the on side and called Tuffey through for a single before changing his mind. Tuffey was left with far too much ground to recover (96 for 6).
Ian Butler finds his stumps rattled by a Shoaib scorcher as New Zealand lose their way
Shabbir added to New Zealand's misery, trapping Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori in front with deliveries which nipped back into them. Both batsmen made ducks. Shoaib then polished off Robbie Hart and Ian Butler in trademark fashion with inswinging yorkers.
Shoaib took 11 wickets in the match for 78 runs and was by far the dominating influence in giving his side the chance to chase victory. The target of 274 was still a tall order, though, considering that the highest fourth-innings target achieved at this venue was New Zealand's 215 for 6 against India in 1998-99.
Pakistan approached that task in unruffled, confident fashion. The openers added 37 before Imran Farhat (14) gloved a leg-side catch to Hart off Oram. Taufeeq Umar made 34 when he was trapped lbw by Vettori (75 for 2).
Yasir Hameed confirmed his growing stature as an international batsman with a fine half-century. He was in complete control until he edged a ball from Butler to fall for 59 (156 for 3). But any hint of a collapse was firmly blocked by Youhana and Inzamam, as they took toll of some ineffective bowling with powerful hitting off the back foot. Youhana got a life too, when he put down by Stephen Fleming.
Youhana brought up his second half-century of the match off 94 balls while Inzamam's fifty came off 66 balls. They scored at nearly a run a minute. Surprisingly, Inzamam did not enforce the option to extend play by 30 minutes in a bid to wrap up the win. The weather in Wellington has not been consistent and showers are forecast for tomorrow. With only 28 more required, that is Fleming's only hope of escaping from this match with anything less than a resounding defeat.
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