Pakistan seal crushing win on dramatic day
Pakistan 367 (Shafiq 83, Misbah 62, Arnel 4-95) and 21 for 0 beat New Zealand 275 (Southee 56, McCullum 56, Ahmed 4-63) and 110 (McCullum 35, Rehman 3-24, Gul 3-28) by 10 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
What Pakistan inflicted on New Zealand on a dramatic third day in Hamilton was nothing short of an embarassment. On a still-placid track, the hosts were victims of some incisive Pakistan bowling but let themselves down through some equally inept batting, transforming a Test that had been closely-fought on the first two days into a hopelessly one-sided contest in just one session.
Pakistan's build-up to this Test had been hijacked by the spot-fixing hearings in Doha but they managed to infuse plenty of significance to a Test that otherwise appeared as a sideshow. Missing several of their first-choice players, for reasons ranging from allegations of corruption to indiscipline and fitness, Pakistan were propelled to victory on the back of strong performances from their inexperienced players under a fresh captain. Misbah-ul-Haq's team had held South Africa to two draws in the UAE, but this win, for all the distractions off the field and though against a less prominent opposition, would go miles in restoring some pride after a turbulent few months.
For New Zealand, who had challenged India in their Test series there, it marked another low, and a dispiriting start - discounting the Twenty20 series prior to this - to John Wright's tenure as coach.
Pakistan's lower order, including its bowlers, had played a crucial role in stretching the first-innings lead to 92 after the loss of two early wickets in the day. And the confidence with which they went about extending their team's advantage with the bat, showed in the way they attacked on the field in the session after tea.
While New Zealand dropped catches, Pakistan hardly gave anything away. While New Zealand's seamers often overpitched to the tailenders, the Pakistan bowlers backed their superior pace by varying their lengths. And while Daniel Vettori was negotiated safely, his left-arm spinning counterpart Abdur Rehman never seemed far from taking a wicket.
Rehman was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers in the first innings, strangling New Zealand's run-flow with a spate of maidens in the session after lunch on the first day. It was no surprise then that Misbah turned to him as early as the ninth over in New Zealand's second attempt.
Rehman doesn't rely too much on spin but plenty on alterations in place and length. He should have had Brendon McCullum out lbw almost immediately with a quick straighter one, but just an over later he fooled Tim McIntosh, who stepped out to a flighted delivery that was held back, played inside the line and was stumped. The psychological edge he had gained over Martin Guptill in the first innings, tying him down with five straight maidens, reaped rewards in the second, as the batsman top-edged an ill-planned slog-sweep. The icing on the cake was the wicket of Vettori, done in by a bit of turn from the footmarks and trapped plumb.
Rehman had been the beneficiary of three dropped catches during his stand of 72 with Adnan Akmal that took Pakistan in to the lead, but, barring an early lapse from Taufeeq Umar at slip, the visitors were ruthless on the field. Ross Taylor had begun his innings with a couple of confident drives but he was unable to beat a direct-hit from Misbah while attempting a risky single. And when Kane Williamson inside-edged Wahab Riaz onto his pads, the spontaneous appeal for an lbw did not distract Azhar Ali at slip from diving low to claim a catch that was later upheld.
In the interim, Riaz was fortunate to get a caught-behind decision against McCullum - the ball deflected off his thigh - and his extra pace accounted for Jesse Ryder first ball as he failed to bring his bat down in time against an inswinging yorker. Umar Gul wrapped up the innings; he had debutant Reece Young caught at deep square leg off a short delivery, and then bounced Chris Martin not long after he had completed 100 runs in Test cricket. From 60 for 2, New Zealand collapsed to 110 all out, including losing four wickets for one run and the humiliation was only 19 runs away.
New Zealand had tried hard to even things out on the third morning, but as has been the trend throughout this Test, Pakistan pulled them back to surge ahead. Williamson and Southee's resistance in the first innings ended quickly on the second day, Misbah and Shafiq led the team's recovery after they had been reduced to 107 for 4, and Adnan's counterattack today compensated for the early departure of the overnight duo.
When the seamers strayed on the pads, Adnan flicked them elegantly to the fine-leg boundary; he cut powerfully when they dropped short and drove when they pitched up. His boundary-filled 66-ball stay not only gave Pakistan the lead but eased the burden off those who followed, and their carefree batting yielded more runs. His approach rubbed off on Rehman, who broke a 30-ball runless drought with two sixes off Vettori, while Gul and Tanvir Ahmed did their bit down the order, including smacking Brent Arnel for 15 in an over. The last four wickets added 111, and by the time Martin claimed Ahmed as his 500th first-class victim, the foundation for victory, as it turned out, had been firmly laid.
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at Cricinfo