March 19, 2001

Inevitable draw in Christchurch but both teams delighted with individual efforts

Saqlain Mushtaq has had a tour to remember after today scoring, as expected, his maiden Test century for Pakistan but his complete scenario for the final day of the second National Bank series Test did not eventuate.

Under his plan for the day he would firstly score his century then he would find the Jade Stadium pitch ready to accept enough of his off spin to lead his side to a second victory in the series.

Unfortunately only the first part came true.

Pakistan, courtesy of Saqlain scoring the two runs for his century, managed 10 more runs in the last 25 minutes of their innings to give his side a 95-run first innings advantage over New Zealand.

Only Waqar Younis managed to get out before the Pakistan declaration was applied. He was caught off his gloves from the bowling of Daryl Tuffey for 12 runs.

Pakistan captain Moin Khan was delighted with the way his side chased, and passed, a big target of 476 and the effort of Inzamam-ul-Haq (130), Yousuf Youhana (203) and Saqlain Mushtaq (100 not out) had been tremendous.

"There was a possibility we could have won the match if we got a lead and then bowled New Zealand out but there wasn't anything in the pitch. It wasn't seaming, swinging or even spinning. It wasn't a good pitch for bowling," he said.

Moin said Pakistan would continue to be positive in their cricket in the third Test and would not be sitting on their 1-0 lead in the series.

Once New Zealand began their second innings, openers Matthew Bell and Mark Richardson managed their third successive half century opening stand, not a big deal for most countries but one that was of considerable comfort to New Zealand who have struggled for an opening partnership.

Bell was out on 69, trapped leg before wicket to the part-time leg spin bowling of Younis Khan for 40.

But Mathew Sinclair joined Mark Richardson and they took the score through to 196/1.

In that time, Richardson scored his sixth half century in eight Test matches, his 50 coming up 215 minutes off 170 balls and including eight fours. When New Zealand declared 101 runs in front, he was unbeaten on 73 while Sinclair was also unbeaten on 50 scored in 169 minutes off 145 balls.

Sinclair ended the game with 254 runs and was not out. His Test average is now a healthy 52.55 while Richardson's average is 50.33.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said it was on the fourth afternoon when the Kiwis thought they couldn't win the Test.

But he was delighted with the performance of Sinclair and his new opening pair of Richardson and Bell.

"Mathew Sinclair was outstanding while the opening pair has been a problem in the past and as a middle-order batsman that's great to see.

"When you look at the work ethic the two players use to prepare themselves, they lead from the front. Matthew Bell's return has been very good," he said.

Fleming thought his selection as Wellington's captain this year had been a factor in that development.

New Zealand's middle-order hadn't been used to getting good starts but when they happened it allowed them to bat in a more positive style while also had the effect of leaving the bowlers more drained than if they had picked up cheap wickets.

Fleming didn't think there would be a result because both teams lacked the penetration to force the win on the flat pitch provided.