First Test

Pakistan v New Zealand

At Lahore, May 1, 2, 3. Pakistan won by an innings and 324 runs. Toss: Pakistan. Test debut: R. G. Hart.

In three days, Pakistan recorded the fifth-biggest victory in Test cricket, thanks to two outstanding performances: a triple-century from Inzamam-ul-Haq, and six for 11 from Shoaib Akhtar. Both were hobbling by the end of the second day - Inzamam from cramp, Shoaib after spraining an ankle.

But New Zealand were the real casualties. It was all downhill for them after the opening over, when Shahid Afridi gave the new wicket-keeper, Robbie Hart, his first Test dismissal. From then on, both seamers and spinners wilted on the docile pitch as temperatures soared. The first day was dominated by centuries from Imran Nazir, recalled for his first Test in 17 months, and Inzamam. Nazir reached three figures with his third six, just before tea, and they had put on 204 together in just under four hours when he was spectacularly caught by the diving Richardson at mid-on. Inzamam completed his 16th Test hundred in the next over with a crisp four off Vettori. He struck the ball delightfully, driving and cutting at every opportunity, as he added 94 with Yousuf Youhana; his only blemish in a power-packed innings came on 110, when he drove Vettori uppishly but was dropped by Vincent.

Inzamam continued with his usual flamboyance on the second day, advancing to his second double-hundred in Tests shortly before lunch. He had begun to suffer from cramp, and was allowed to use a runner for three overs before the interval; afterwards, the privilege was withdrawn. Struggling to run singles and twos, Inzamam made up for it by hitting more loose deliveries to the fence, or over it. He was 250 when Saqlain was seventh out, after a partnership of 111, but hurried on, pushing a single to cover off Harris after tea to reach Pakistan's second triple-century in Tests, following Hanif Mohammad's 337 against West Indies at Bridgetown in 1957-58. His first 100 had come in 191 balls, the second in 132, and the third, which contained seven fours and four sixes, at a run a ball. After adding 78 with Shoaib Akhtar - a ninth-wicket record for Pakistan against New Zealand - he hit three sixes in an over from Brooke Walker's leg-breaks and was caught at long-on attempting a fourth. Last out, he had made 329, the tenth-highest score in Test history, in a stay of 579 minutes and 436 balls, from which he smashed 38 fours and nine sixes.

Now it was Shoaib's turn. He did not bowl flat out, as in the one-day series, but controlled his line and length, occasionally slipping in one at a brisker pace. His lethal yorkers claimed four for four in 25 balls - all bowled - to leave New Zealand reeling on 21 for four. Shoaib sprained an ankle, losing his balance in his follow-through, and was absent at the start of the third morning. But he limped back on to finish the innings with two more wickets in eight deliveries, without conceding another run, for a career-best six for 11 from only 8.2 overs. It took his tally for the season to 23 wickets in five Tests at an average of 16.65 and a strike rate of 30. The tourists sank from their overnight 58 for six to 73 all out, the lowest total in Tests at Lahore, and followed on a massive 570 behind.

Shoaib did not return and, despite losing Horne in the first over, New Zealand looked more confident. They were a respectable 186 for three on the third evening, thanks to a captain's innings from Fleming, supported by Vincent and Harris. But the last seven wickets toppled for 60 in 20 overs. Danish Kaneria took his fourth five-for in eight Tests with his bouncy leg-breaks.

It was Pakistan's biggest Test victory, surpassing an innings and 264 against Bangladesh in August, and New Zealand's heaviest defeat. Fleming called it "a tough day in the office", admitting that his side were "outplayed and outclassed".

Man of the Match: Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Close of play: First day, Pakistan 355-4 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 159); Second day, New Zealand 58-6 (Hart 2, Vettori 0).

© John Wisden & Co