Third Test Match


Toss: Pakistan.

With the pundits predicting that the grassless pitch would break up readily, the toss seemed to be vital. Instead, only eighteen wickets fell in the match for 1,118 runs. When Pakistan declared their first innings closed for a mammoth 616 for five, they were in the box seat. But New Zealand fought back strongly, the pitch held together - one theory suggested the use of glue - and a draw was gained when bad light snuffed out the last 13.2 overs of the match.

Pakistan needed seven two-hour sessions to create a Test record total against New Zealand, eclipsing England's 593 for six declared on the same ground fourteen years earlier. There was another century by Shoaib, at rather a better pace than in the Wellington Test, and a marvellous display by Miandad, whose sixth Test double-hundred, an achievement exceeded only by Sir Donald Bradman (12) and W. R. Hammond (7), was just 9 runs short of his personal best. Miandad batted for 558 minutes, facing 465 balls, and there was just one flaw. When 66, he survived a very difficult caught and bowled chance to Hadlee. While the runs were important to Pakistan's cause, it was the manner in which he scored them that drew unstinted admiration. A seemingly impregnable defence was lightened by his swift cover drives, effective hits to leg, and deft, imaginative strokes which kept third man especially busy. Most of all, there was his clinical eye for the gap for singles. In addition to his 28 fours, he hit five sixes, all off Boock, which helped give the slow left-armer the dubious distinction of having more runs taken off him (229) than any New Zealander had previously conceded. Shoaib and Miandad increased to 248 their third-wicket record for New Zealand-Pakistan series - 28 more than they had put on at Wellington - and for both there was the added distinction of increasing the number of centuries in a New Zealand season to a record 44 (Miandad) and 45 (Shoaib).

Before lunch on the second day, Hadlee had retired with a recurrence of an Achilles' tendon complaint, which left New Zealand with only three bowlers. On the third morning, Chatfield and Boock were the only bowlers used until Pakistan declared at lunch. By this time Salim Malik and Imran had taken their sixth-wicket stand to 136 and Imran had just become the third all-rounder, after I. T. Botham and Kapil Dev, to score 3,000 runs and take 300 wickets.

New Zealand began the depressing task of trying to save the match with the early loss of Wright. Vance and Jones put on 109 for the second wicket with obvious calm, but just as the shades of night were falling, New Zealand lost three further wickets to finish at 133 for four. The fourth day produced a fearfully hard grind as the overnight pair, Martin Crowe and Greatbatch, back from injury, batted almost to tea in a fifth-wicket partnership of 154. By the close, Jeff Crowe and Smith had taken New Zealand to 360 for seven, still 57 runs short of avoiding the follow-on.

Although the pitch was not breaking up as had been expected, Qadir none the less turned his leg-breaks prodigiously and got occasional sharp lift to complicate matters for the batsmen. When Smith was out on the fifth morning after a gallant half-century, the injured Hadlee and Chatfield were left to save the follow-on. Hadlee straight drove Imran over the fence, but with 14 required Chatfield became Qadir's sixth wicket. Qadir, in achieving his fifteenth return of five or more wickets in a Test innings, bowled with excellent control, and Imran also was at his best during this Test. Time, however, was on New Zealand's side, and Wright and Vance closed the door on Pakistan with an opening partnership of 142 minutes. There was a stoppage for rain, and finally bad light drew the curtain on a forgettable Test series.

Man of the Match: Javed Miandad.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 289-2 (Shoaib Mohammad 110*, Javed Miandad 154*); Second day, Pakistan 497-5 (Salim Malik 22*, Imran Khan 8*); Third day, New Zealand 133-4 (M. D. Crowe 3*, M. J. Greatbatch 0*); Fourth day, New Zealand 360-7 (J. J. Crowe 26*, I. D. S. Smith 37*).

© John Wisden & Co