Tour review

Pakistan in New Zealand, 2010-11

Lynn McConnell

Test matches (2): New Zealand 0, Pakistan 1
One-day internationals (6): New Zealand 2, Pakistan 3
Twenty20 internationals (3): New Zealand 2, Pakistan 1


Pakistan celebrate their series victory, New Zealand v Pakistan, 6th ODI, Auckland, February 5, 2011
Pakistan won the Test and the ODI series © AFP
Enlarge

Pakistan arrived to find New Zealand in a state of dishevelment - and left with their first Test series win outside the subcontinent since beating the New Zealanders in 2003-04. It was a triumph for the 36-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq, in only his second series as captain following the suspension of Salman Butt over spot-fixing allegations in England in 2010. Returning to the country where he made his international debut a decade earlier, Misbah responded in style, passing 50 in all his three Test innings to take his sequence of half-centuries to six and his average as captain to 112, and top-scoring in the series with 231 runs. In the one-day internationals, which Pakistan won 3-2 under Shahid Afridi's leadership, Misbah's tally of 203 was bettered only by Martin Guptill. Defeat in the Twenty20s - the first men's bilateral series to run to three games - hardly seemed to matter.

A year earlier, they had toured New Zealand in what, theoretically at least, counted as a home series because of ongoing security concerns back in Pakistan. On that occasion they were grateful to the rain for letting them escape with a draw. This time, they won the First Test at Hamilton inside three days, then saved the Second at Wellington, where Misbah followed a first-innings 99 by batting for more than five hours on the final day. Against the backdrop of the ICC's hearing in Doha, where Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were answering questions about their role in the Lord's no-ball controversy, this was something of a triumph for a team reshaping itself with a blend of old and new.

Misbah received good support with the bat from Younis Khan, while Umar Gul was consistency personified with the ball, performing with relentless accuracy - even in the Wellington wind - to claim 13 wickets at 20 apiece. He was well assisted by Abdur Rehman, the left-arm spinner recalled to the Test team against South Africa in November 2010 after a three-year absence, who chipped away at New Zealand's batsmen to earn 11 wickets at 26. Rehman was left to shoulder the spin bowling - which he did with skill, claiming six for 75 from 45 overs in the win at Hamilton - after off-spinner Saeed Ajmal flew home before the Tests following the death of his father.

For New Zealand, defeat felt dispiritingly familiar. Appointed coach in place of Mark Greatbatch in the aftermath of poor one-day results in Bangladesh and India, the former captain and opening batsman John Wright was expected to pick up the pieces the week before the first international. But he was unable to work a miracle. New Zealand were left to reflect on a record of three wins in their last 27 Tests, and no series victory against anyone other than Bangladesh since they triumphed over West Indies at home in 2005-06.

After the encouraging signs of the first two Tests in India, which had been drawn, the batsmen seemed to go backwards, repeatedly squandering good starts and converting only one of their ten half-centuries into three figures - Daniel Vettori's 110 from No. 8 at Wellington. Vettori's announcement that he would be stepping down as captain after the World Cup came as no surprise: overtaxed by the burden of combining leadership with long spells of left-arm spin and all-too-necessary rescue acts with the bat, he had led New Zealand to only six Test victories, with 16 defeats and ten draws; it seemed reasonable to rest him from the Twenty20 series.

Too often, he simply did not have enough firepower at his disposal, and so it proved again - although New Zealand took a step towards alleviating the problem with the temporary addition of former South African fast bowler Allan Donald to the backroom staff before the one-day series. Chris Martin bowled well for nine wickets, to move to 199 in Tests, but Tim Southee and Brent Arnel lacked penetration. The emergence of Hamish Bennett, a 23-year- old seamer, in the one-dayers offered some hope. But as silver linings went, it was hardly dazzling.

Match reports for

Tour Match: Auckland v Pakistanis at Auckland, Dec 23, 2010
Scorecard

1st T20I: New Zealand v Pakistan at Auckland, Dec 26, 2010
Report | Scorecard

2nd T20I: New Zealand v Pakistan at Hamilton, Dec 28, 2010
Report | Scorecard

3rd T20I: New Zealand v Pakistan at Christchurch, Dec 30, 2010
Report | Scorecard

Tour Match: New Zealand Cricket XI v Pakistanis at Whangarei, Jan 2-4, 2011
Scorecard

1st Test: New Zealand v Pakistan at Hamilton, Jan 7-9, 2011
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: New Zealand v Pakistan at Wellington, Jan 15-19, 2011
Report | Scorecard

1st ODI: New Zealand v Pakistan at Wellington, Jan 22, 2011
Report | Scorecard

2nd ODI: New Zealand v Pakistan at Queenstown, Jan 26, 2011
Scorecard

3rd ODI: New Zealand v Pakistan at Christchurch, Jan 29, 2011
Report | Scorecard

4th ODI: New Zealand v Pakistan at Napier, Feb 1, 2011
Report | Scorecard

5th ODI: New Zealand v Pakistan at Hamilton, Feb 3, 2011
Report | Scorecard

6th ODI: New Zealand v Pakistan at Auckland, Feb 5, 2011
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co.