2nd Test

Pakistan in New Zealand, 2010-11

Lynn McConnell

At Wellington (Basin Reserve), January 15-19, 2011. Drawn. Toss: New Zealand.

A personal tour de force from Misbah-ul-Haq secured the draw that brought Pakistan their first Test series win in 11, since their 2-0 home victory over West Indies in December 2006. Misbah spent ten hours 22 minutes at the crease during the match and - aided in both innings by Younis Khan, who batted for a total of seven hours nine minutes - kept a hopeful New Zealand at bay on what had shaped up to be a captivating final day. Vettori announced afterwards that he would be stepping down from the captaincy following the World Cup and, although he insisted his decision had been taken some time ago, it felt of a piece with New Zealand's general deflation: this Test had been an opportunity missed.

Seven years earlier, Pakistan had successfully chased down 274 at the same venue. Now, faced with an identical target, they opted for safety after losing three wickets in the first 13 overs, including Taufeeq Umar, the only survivor from the side that won here by seven wickets in December 2003. Misbah, assisted by the equally steadfast Younis, added an unbeaten 70 to his first-innings 99, and although Martin moved to 199 Test wickets, New Zealand's lack of incision was typified by Vettori's failure to add more than a single wicket to his first-innings haul of four - even if he was not helped by a Basin Reserve pitch dried hard by the winds and thus in little danger of cracking. Just as tellingly, there was hardly any penetration from the other end, not to mention scant support for the three frontline bowlers.

And yet without Vettori's heroics with the bat, New Zealand would not have been in any sort of position to push for what would have been only his seventh victory in 32 Tests in charge. At 180 for six halfway through the final session on the first day - five of the wickets falling to catches behind the stumps by Adnan Akmal - the home side were in danger of squandering the advantage of batting first. But Vettori joined Young, who eventually became Adnan's sixth victim, in a gritty seventh-wicket stand of 138 before going on to complete his sixth Test century - and third against Pakistan - with last man and renowned rabbit Martin at the crease. Despite a tireless spell of slow left-arm from Rehman, who bowled all but four of his 45.1 overs into a daunting northerly, New Zealand's last four wickets had almost doubled the score.

Mohammad Hafeez fell cheaply in reply, only for two large partnerships - 132 between Taufeeq and Azhar Ali, and 142 between Younis and Misbah - to take Pakistan to the brink of ascendancy at 286 for three. But Younis fell to the last ball before tea on the third day, wrongly given out caught at short leg by umpire Tucker, one of several poor decisions in a series played, for financial reasons, without the Decision Review System. Vettori and Martin restricted the deficit to 20 by sharing five of the remaining six wickets, including Misbah - walking fatally across his stumps - one short of his hundred.

For once, New Zealand did not throw it away in the third innings, and they were thankful for an opening stand of 120 between Guptill and McCullum - only the team's second century partnership for the first wicket since Trent Bridge in 2004. The impressive Umar Gul collected four more wickets, but Taylor's second fifty of the match left Pakistan with a tough, but by no means impossible, last-day run-chase. If there was any doubt that survival would be the priority, the loss of three quick wickets removed it. First Younis kept Misbah company for 191 minutes, then Asad Shafiq hung around for 101. By the end of Misbah's 312-minute vigil - an object lesson both to his own team-mates and to the temperamentally unsound home batsmen - the New Zealanders had grown sick of the sight of him.

Man of the Match: Misbah-ul-Haq.
Close of play: First day, New Zealand 246-6 (Young 28, Vettori 38); Second day, Pakistan 134-2 (Azhar Ali 62); Third day, New Zealand 9-0 (Guptill 1, McCullum 6); Fourth day, New Zealand 293.

© John Wisden & Co.