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Match reports

New Zealand v Pakistan, 2009-10

Wisden's review of New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd Test, 2009-10

Lynn McConnell
At Basin Reserve, Wellington, December 3, 4, 5, 6, 2009. Pakistan won by 141 runs. Toss: New Zealand.
New Zealand suffered a severe blow when an abdominal strain forced Bond to withdraw. His place was taken by Daryl Tuffey, playing his first Test in five and a half years, while Pakistan made three changes. They swapped opener Salman Butt for Khurram Manzoor and brought in Misbah-ul-Haq for Fawad Alam, ostensibly to exploit his slip-catching ability, while Umar Akmal moved up to No. 3; meanwhile leg-spinner Danish Kaneria replaced Saeed Ajmal. But Pakistan's hopes that their catching would improve were unfounded; New Zealand's misfortune would have been even greater had the fielding been anywhere close to adequate.
The Test was the 50th at the Basin Reserve. A wet outfield meant no play until the first afternoon, and it seemed New Zealand were in for a long haul after they invited Pakistan to bat and saw the revamped opening pair, Butt and Imran Farhat, raise 60. But once the breakthrough came, three wickets fell in four overs, including Mohammad Yousuf for a second-ball duck. Again, the Akmal brothers did the most productive scoring, though this time not in tandem. Umar smashed 46 in 48 balls, a 57-minute spectacular, while Kamran hit 70 in 85, though he survived two reviews of lbw decisions - one when Vettori pressed his appeal, the other in the next over, when Rudi Koertzen gave him out to O'Brien and Kamran himself referred the verdict. Both Akmals fell to Tuffey, who like Vettori finished with four wickets. Yousuf claimed he was happy with a total of 264; locals chortled at the thought.
He was even happier by the end of the second day, however, as New Zealand batted abysmally. Their eventual total was only 99, and eight men contributed 13 between them: Taylor was the top scorer with 30. Pakistan's bowling was accurate but hardly deadly, and most of the batsmen were undone by a lack of technique and application. Mohammad Asif led the way again with nagging fast-medium bowling which netted four for 40; Kaneria's leg-spin exposed New Zealand's failings as he took three for six.
Yousuf stepped back into the No. 3 berth in the second innings and hit 83 in a demonstration of application for the cause. He occupied 283 minutes before he was lbw on review after Koertzen had given him not out. Umar Akmal wafted, knowing he had the freedom of a substantial lead, to make 52 from 33 balls, but was caught off Martin just as he was threatening to explode. Two wickets in successive balls from Elliott gave New Zealand hope but, while the final six wickets fell for 29 runs, their target was still an improbable 405. O'Brien, who announced he would retire at the end of the series, and Martin had four wickets each.
With New Zealand's top order failing again, miracles were going to be required for them to clinch the series, and Asif was in no mood to allow that. His accuracy forced them to capitulate. They did have the advantage of a benign pitch, but only Taylor, who narrowly missed a century for the second match running in an innings featuring five sixes and nine fours, and Vettori, who knocked up 40 in 57 balls when the issue was almost beyond doubt, batted with anything like the expected purpose.
Asif took five more wickets to claim the match award, while Kaneria, who was required to bowl all but one of his 31 overs into Wellington's breeze, claimed another three. Yet again, New Zealand had been unable to build on the advantage of winning the First Test.
Man of the Match: Mohammad Asif. Close of play: First day, Pakistan 161-6 (Kamran Akmal 21, Mohammad Aamer 2); Second day, Pakistan 64-2 (Mohammad Yousuf 10, Misbah-ul-Haq 1); Third day, New Zealand 70-3 (Taylor 15, Fulton 12).