At Christchurch, November 17-20, 2016. New Zealand won by eight wickets. Toss: New Zealand. Test debut: C. de Grandhomme, J. A. Raval.
Colin de Grandhomme had to wait for his debut to begin, when the first day was washed out. Even so, it did not take him long to make an impression. Sporting a Movember moustache that would make Tom Selleck blanch, he was brought on in the ninth over, and with his 15th ball uprooted Azhar Ali's off stump. His swing and seam benefited from a thatch of grass as thick as his upper lip, and the batsmen had few answers. Pakistan were dismissed for 133 by tea; de Grandhomme finished with six for 41, the best figures by a New Zealander on debut, eclipsing Alex Moir's six for 155 against England at Christchurch in 1950-51.
Jeet Raval, the other debutant, got in on the act, snaffling three catches in the cordon; in the second innings he added a fourth, at deep midwicket, a record for a New Zealand fielder in his maiden Test. He also anchored the reply, reaching the second-day close on a disciplined 55, to take control of the match. The pitch remained lively, so he left where possible, scoring just one single between cover and point.
Raval failed to add to his score next morning, when New Zealand went from 104 for three to 200 all out before lunch. But Pakistan's batsmen failed again, dribbling to 80 for three after 50 overs, and were bundled out for 171 on the fourth morning. Wagner passed 100 wickets in his 26th Test, one more than the quickest New Zealander to the mark, Richard Hadlee. Respite came from Sohail Khan, who top-scored with 40 from No. 9, but the odds were stacked against a full recovery: he had taken guard after Pakistan had collapsed from 93 for three to 105 for seven.
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said it was the best collective bowling performance he could remember, but Azhar added a caveat: "Maybe this was the most seam-friendly pitch I've played on in my international career," he said. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, the world's No. 1 bowler as recently as July, failed to strike in either innings, the first blank of his 20-Test career. His counterpart Todd Astle, meanwhile, bowled just four overs on his return to Test cricket.
Raval and Williamson eased the hosts towards victory with an 85-run partnership, and de Grandhomme became the fourth New Zealander to pick up the match award on debut, after Stephen Fleming, Mathew Sinclair and Mark Craig. Hesson could be forgiven for breaking out the port and clipping cigars with fellow selector Gavin Larsen. "Colin's been a talented player for a long time," he said. "But we've been waiting for something to click, to show he's worked out how to play at first-class level." De Grandhomme, usually taciturn, offered a pearl that might have resonated with cricketers from any level. "You think you're going to quit," he said. "Then you find something to make you come back and want it more."