New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Wellington, 5th day January 19, 2011

Vettori rues Hamilton collapse


New Zealand began day five at Basin Reserve needing to bowl Pakistan out to square the series, but barring an early burst from the seamers, their attack lacked the penetration to dislodge the opposition batsmen, especially after they began to play defensively. Daniel Vettori, however, singled out the second-innings collapse in Hamilton as the reason for New Zealand's 1-0 series loss against Pakistan.

"The reason we lost the series was because of our third innings with the bat in Hamilton," Vettori said. "I thought we played really well yesterday to give ourselves a chance. We wanted to get a 270 score because we knew that would always be difficult out here, so to set that to win was a good effort."

Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan effectively sealed the series with their second century stand of the game, batting out almost a session and a half to take Pakistan out of danger. Both men made valuable half-centuries: Younis opted to play his strokes for 81 with one eye on a win, and Misbah's unbeaten 226-ball vigil ensured his side would not surrender the series lead on the last day.

"Misbah and Younis was the key partnership," Vettori said. "They're obviously very experienced players and they know their game pretty well. The wicket was good and we just couldn't get that breakthrough early enough. I think even when we got Younis before tea there was a sniff there, but we just needed to keep getting those breakthroughs and into their inexperienced middle and lower order, but we didn't get them."

Vettori was expected to provide the impetus for New Zealand as they pushed for wickets in the fourth innings, but his inability to turn the ball significantly on a worn fifth-day pitch blunted New Zealand's ambitions of a Test win. Vettori troubled Younis early with changes of pace and a hint of extra bounce, but the batsman had little trouble negotiating the spinner once he was settled at the crease.

"The wicket was very good. It still had enough in it [for the bowlers], but if you didn't want to play any shots it was certainly something you could defend on. Younis played really well - it was a great way to play in a fourth innings on a fifth day. He put a little bit of pressure back on us, but mainly he was content to defend and Misbah was very content to defend. When you're 1-0 up you can play that way and they did exceptionally well, and did what their team needed."

Waqar Younis also praised the efforts of the experienced Pakistan batsmen. "They've been batting well since South Africa, which was another tough series," Waqar said. "Full credit to Younis, he's an experienced campaigner and he knows what to do and he did exactly what we needed."

Misbah-ul-Haq embellished his record as captain, adding 70 to take his series tally to 231 in three innings, and picked up the Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series awards. His average since taking over the leadership is 112.75 in four Tests. "For some [becoming Test captain] goes wrong and for some it brings a lot of luck," Waqar said. "He's been playing good, defensive but positive cricket."

Waqar said the plan had been to chase down the 274 set by New Zealand for victory, but early wickets caused his side to change tack. "270 odd is a par score nowadays in Test match cricket. But on the fifth day it sometimes gets a little tricky. We wanted to win this match but losing three early wickets didn't really help the cause and it took a bit too long to recover from that and that's why we didn't manage it.

"Hafeez was our trump card. If he had carried on for bit longer it might have been a different story, but it was tough after that. We always knew Vettori could be [dangerous] on this fifth day pitch, so we're happy with the result."

Both sides now look forward to the six-match one-day series, which begins on Saturday. The series will be crucial as the teams look to settle their final combinations and build some momentum ahead of the World Cup. New Zealand, in particular, will attempt to turn their one-day form around, having lost an unprecedented 11 games on the trot since June last year.

"Obviously we're on a bad run of losses," Vettori said. "We're comfortable playing in New Zealand. It won't mean much in terms of performance because the grounds and the pitches will be so different [in the World Cup]. But if the guys can walk away from this series with a series win and some form, they'll go to the World Cup in a better space."

Pakistan, too, will aim to leave New Zealand with another victory. "A win always gives you a boost," Waqar said. "We'll go into the one-dayers with a lot more aggression and positivity. We've got a few players coming and a few going back. We know that New Zealand are always a tough team in their home conditions, so we're not going to take it easy."

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

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  • Iqbal on January 21, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    Regardless of the reason(s) being put forward by Verrori, it is clear as daylight that Pakistan have won the Test series in NZ. However, it is really unfair to pinpoint something which falls second in line while the primary reason is not being touched upon. I am actually referring to the Hamilton Test where Pakistan clearly dominated the proceedings from start till the end, and, in the process, they surprised themselves by winning that match in three days and that too with a small lead of only 92 runs in the first innings. Moreover, in the Wellington Test, they played as a better team even though the result didn't reflect that at the end. All these facts have been ignored by the NZ captain who, most of us know by now, lacks sportsmanship in its true meaning. He has failed to give the credit where it's due, especially where Pakistan's performances are concerned. I believe it's time to move on and find someone better than Vettori to take charge of this NZ team.

  • Cricinfouser on January 20, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    I am an Indian but that doesn't stop me from admiring this "new look" Pakistan team. I always believed if there is ONE team from Indian SC that can match famed WI's of 80z and all conquering Aussies of my gen in physical power n brute strength !it could only be a Pakistan team . with all that has happened to PAK cricket n the fact that you can outplay an opponent in their own backyard shows the pool of talent that's still left in Pakistan. ITS world cup time guys' welcome to India ' and give us a grand IND vs PAK final.

    BY the way ..... whats Mhd Amir doing ...sure cricket lovers all over d world r not gonna let a "GEM" of fast bowling talent fade away .

  • zakaria on January 20, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Misbah self defeating approach meant pakistan only won the series 1-0.Pakistan were destined to win 2-0 but for that ridiculous approach.match was so painful to watch really.I mean pakistan won against a no.8 test team in world.If new zealand would have been on attack like england or australia last summer.I can assure you we would have lost and test series drawn 1-1 even when asad shafiq tried to be aggressive against vettori,misbah came down on asad right a way and shout out all possibilities of a win. Remember you Play to WIN and not to DRAW series.Misbah was so defensive in 2nd innings of new zealand.One stroke for four and field was changed to chase ball.YOU DONT SET FIELDS FOR BAD BALLS as per IAN chappell.Thank god it was New zealand who could take advantage of poor defensive captaincy.Otherwise we would have drawn series formisbah captaincy

  • Mike on January 20, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    Come on Pakistan. You could of won that game easily if you had shown even a little bit of courage. All congrats to the team for a great test series. But surely you take a risk of a loss to win a test.

    Dont become an India and try and draw before winning please.. You had the talent and the wickets in hand. Just not the courage to take the chance.

    Other than that very well done. Misbah looks a great leader of men and captaincy is really improving his batting. Great to see some stability in the team. Would be great to see this team with Asif , M,Yousuf and Amir back.

    Also the young akmal looks a great player. Needs be given a long time. Dont drop him when he has a bad run. Give him time.

    Well done pakistan. Deserved win.

  • Andrew on January 19, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    Vettori's bowling performance on the last day has to be a major disappointment. He's a great player for NZ, but it was his job yesterday to take wickets on a worn fifth day wicket. The only wicket he did take was well after the horse had bolted.His inability to perform that function is the major hole in his cricketing resume. He's still the most valuable player in the team and a great defensive bowler but they may need to look at his role in the team - he may be better off as a number 6 batsman to allow a more attacking spinner a role in the team. Granted there isn't a lot of spin bowling talent in NZ, but Nick Baird may be worth a look, he has a knack for taking wickets and has done all that has been asked of him over the last year or so. To win test matches you really need to have a spinner in your squad who can bowl teams out on the last day.

  • mahendra on January 19, 2011, 21:23 GMT

    I'm so happy Pakistan won . Poor things they had to play against 13 men when they could only play with 9 men . ie the 'shocking umpireing decisions' , And they still won . Hats off to you guys . I feel sick with the 'Shocking Decisions' that always seem to go against the Asian teams . If there is a stats guru out there worth his salt and could do a survey on the % Asian teams have been at the wrong end of 'SHOCKERS' during the last 20 years. You will all be amazed.

  • Jeremy on January 19, 2011, 20:55 GMT

    Well done to Pakistan, they deserved to win the series. Full credit to them although I would have liked them to try for the win in Wellington. Umar Gul was fantastic and Rehman seems good at clamping down our top order batsmen. Good stuff Pakistan.

    In terms of NZ - Vettori really should be rueing his own bowling performance. Lets face it, Vettori is not a strike bowler. It's comical that in NZ no-one seems to have clicked on to the fact that he's not very effective. Sure, he's great in ODIs or T20 when he can tie batsmen down and restrict the run rate, but he is not someone to turn to when you need wickets. NZ should have played another spinner (one who can actually turn the ball) in the place of Arnel (who hardly featured). On a spin-friendly pitch Vettori's lack of spin was really exposed.

    Anyway, I look forward to when the teams meet in the ODI's! Should be a good series.

  • salman on January 19, 2011, 20:51 GMT

    @ Mr Shashank Moghe: how you gonna disagree with Waqar younis when he said they went for the win when they start the day 5. did you see the Runrate they were going in the first few over. it was over 5 an over but when collapse start 3 quick wkts it moved misbah and younis to play in a defensive mode. I think playing in Newzealand against them in their backyard with Pakistan 2nd string bowling attack and only 2 experience batsman with a new wkt keeper, it is a good achievement. 11 out of 9 umpires error went against Pakistan and still manage to win the series. Are you kidding with me. For newzealand there was a series lost anyway either 1-0 or 2-0 so they really didn't matter for them. Just wait and see in the World Cup. there is a big surprise coming for India. India better arrange something good for Pakistan in the Final at the Mumbai Stadium.

  • Rishi on January 19, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    @ShashankMoghe. How you will rate IND vs SA 3rd Test Match, Cape Town which was drawn on dullness level. SRT made 3 runs out of 69 balls and remained not out at 14 off 92 B at the end of 4th innings. It was such a dull match that the match was called off even before alotted were bowled ( 8 over remaining). Probably # 1 team does not have true spirit of the game. Still PAK win to loss ratio in EVERY format of game is better than any subcontinent team.

  • Dummy4 on January 19, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    @ S Moghe

    You are right, but then last few years havent been kind to them also. They could never really settle down in a right combination, and right frame of mind (that are so fundamental for attacking cricket).

    Of course they r to blamed themselves for whatever that has happened with their team, but the ICC and the cricketing community hasnt been kind either. For whatever reasons, foreign teams did not tour Pakistan...which means no economic activity 4 the board, thus the domestic cricket and the upcoming cricket talent dies a slow death.

    I think, it is still incredible that they are breathing albeit slowly. Their country has been exposed to far greater problems than Zimbabwe, WestIndies..yet they are a force to reckon with. They are still competitive, despite losing & drawing. They still posses the venom to demolish any team on a given day. They still have in them what they have always had since the last 60 years...THE UNPREDICTABILITY FACTOR THAT MAKES THEIR CRICKET SO ENJOYABLE

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