Third Test


Toss: New Zealand. Test debut: Atif Rauf.

New Zealand - in fact Thomson and Young, with minimal support - achieved their highest-ever fourth-innings total to win a Test after Pakistan looked to be on their way to a clean sweep of the series.

New Zealand had never scored more than 278 for a Test victory. Now they needed 324. Although they had more than two days to get them, at 133 for four, with Jones gone, it did not look likely. But the stand between Young and Thomson, two naturally aggressive players, transformed the match. Young, who batted throughout the fourth day, pushed his 100th run to mid-wicket before stumps and kissed the silver fern on his helmet as he completed it. Thomson's century - like Young's, his first in Test cricket - came fortuitously next morning, with a shot over the keeper's head instead of over slips as intended. He immediately redeemed himself with much better-looking boundaries to long-on and behind point. Though Young became Wasim Akram's 25th and last wicket of the series, Thomson remained to supervise one of New Zealand's best victories. Blain, who had been at the crease last time his country won, against Australia nearly a year before, hit the winning four over mid-off.

Rutherford, who decided to play on the first morning despite a bruised left hand, had asked Pakistan to bat. Saeed Anwar pulled Morrison's first ball to Rutherford's injured hand at mid-on; he dropped it. In Morrison's next over, Blain grassed an outside edge from Saeed. Pakistan went on to raise the only century opening stand of the series, after which Basit Ali reached a confident 98, which he converted into a maiden Test century on the second morning.

That afternoon, Waqar Younis sliced through New Zealand's first innings in familiar fashion, taking five or 19. Within three deliveries, Thomson had to play at a late out-swinger, which took the edge, and Blain was l. b. w. to a magnificent in-swinger. Jones, in what he said would be his last Test, deserved three figures, but ran himself out for 81, attempting a single to mid-on; he was to fall the same way in the next innings. The other batting failed and Pakistan led by 144. But they lost both their openers cheaply on the second evening and only Basit Ali looked the part next day, adding 67 to his first-innings hundred. Morrison, who claimed four wickets in each innings, and Hart both deserved their success in dismissing Pakistan for 179. Even then, the visitors seemed the most likely winners.

While Waqar was creating havoc on the second afternoon there was some discussion between umpire Francis and the two captains about the state of the ball. This was interpreted by some commentators to mean a ball-tampering controversy. But Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan manager, said his players had been worried that the ball was getting wet when it was hit into the concrete gutters beyond the boundary.

Men of the Match: S. A. Thomson and B. A. Young.

Man of the Series: Wasim Akram.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 334-7 (Basit Ali 98*, Akram Raza 27*); Second day, Pakistan 8-2 (Atif Rauf 3*, Akram Raza 2*); Third day, New Zealand 9-0 (B. A. Young 3*, B. R. Hartland 3*); Fourth day, New Zealand 277-4 (B. A. Young 115*, S. A. Thomson 93*).

© John Wisden & Co