Toss: New Zealand. Test debuts: J. E. C. Franklin; Faisal Iqbal, Imran Farhat, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Sami.
Mohammad Sami's Test career had a dream start when he captured five wickets for six runs in a seven-over spell of speed and reverse swing as New Zealand capitulated on the final morning. They began the day needing an unlikely 326 to win, but, with nine wickets in hand and Richardson unbeaten on 59, were confident they could secure the draw. The opener lasted only four more balls, however, before Saqlain Mushtaq's off-spin made the first breakthrough. Another ten overs passed without incident, then Sami entered the attack and bowled the night-watchman. Within 13 overs, and lunch still half an hour away, the game had finished. The final eight wickets had fallen for only ten runs - with the last five batsmen failing to score - recalling New Zealand's nightmare collapse of eight for five against Australia at Wellington in 1945-46. It was their heaviest defeat chasing a total, just beating 297 runs against Australia, also at Eden Park, in 1973-74. Sir Richard Hadlee, the chairman of selectors, made four changes to the squad for the Second Test.
This was Pakistan's ninth victory over New Zealand in their last 11 Tests, and a devastating show of bowling firepower, especially given that two of their big guns, Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, were unavailable Sami, who was 20 in February, was comfortably the fastest bowler in evidence, regularly topping 140 kph (87 mph). "I just bowled line and length today," he explained, as he picked up the match award in his first Test.
This was also the first Test played on a drop-in pitch in New Zealand, an innovation partly prompted by the amount of rugby played at Eden Park. It was criticised for having no life - at least until New Zealand's final collapse. Fleming gambled on inserting Pakistan, who had just lost by an innings to New Zealand A. But the home attack was soon blunted, in particular by Younis Khan, who was dropped twice off McMillan's bowling and went on to score 91 in nearly three hours. He added 132 with the newly arrived Faisal Iqbal, 19-year-old nephew of coach Javed Miandad, before Tuffey dismissed both of them in his first three balls of a rain-affected second day. After a couple of lengthy breaks, the innings was wound up in the afternoon, whereupon New Zealand lost both openers by their second over. Fleming, supported by McMillan, fought back for six hours until he became the first of Saqlain's eight wickets in the match. Pakistan led by 94 on first innings; Younis and Faisal shared their second century stand of the match, an unbroken 147 for the sixth wicket, before Moin Khan declared at tea. Younis compiled his 149 not out in four and a quarter hours, with 14 fours and four sixes; his last three Test innings, going back to Galle in June, had brought him 356 runs for two dismissals.
New Zealand were given a target of 431 in 138 overs, and this time their opening batsmen rose to the challenge. Richardson and Bell put on 91 in 30 overs before Pakistan managed to break their partnership, and it took a run-out, by Saqlain, to achieve that. He was to claim four wickets plus a catch next morning, but it was Sami's magical spell that stole the headlines in the sensational conclusion.
Man of the Match: Mohammad Sami.