NZ vs PAK: New Zealand wins the first test, jumps to the top in the rankings for the first time

New Zealand have placed themselves on the of the table of test teams as they beat Pakistan in highly dramatic test by 101 runs.

Pakistan won the toss and without any doubt chose to bowl on a green top wicket. The decision worked for the visitors as they got the openers quickly and put New Zealand in deep trouble. The New Zealand skipper had other plans in his mind as he was cautious all the time, didn’t give the Pakistani bowlers any chance to get over him. A few chance were created but the Pakistani fielding didn’t support the bowlers much. Williamson took full advantage of this went on to score his 23rd century in tests. Williamson was well supported by New Zealand middle order as the experienced Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls and keeper batsman BJ Watling went on to score their half centuries in this match. Few handy contributions came in from the lower order as the New Zealand crossed 400 mark in the first innings. NZ ended their innings on 431 with Kane Williamson being their top scorer.

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For Pakistan, bowlers had long spells as they bowled 155 overs in the first innings. Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the bowlers as he bagged 4 wickets. Yasir Shah had decent time out in the field as picked 3 wickets in his spell which had key wicket of Williamson.

Pakistan came out to bat on the second day as they were looking at a huge total on the board made by the NZ team. They didn’t have a great start as none of the batsmen could play the Kiwi bowlers and were seen struggling at 80 for loss of 6 wickets. Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf provided the resistance which was needed at that point and went on to add a 100 run partnership. As they were looking comfortable at the crease, the batsmen had miscommunication in the middle which resulted in Rizwan being run out due to brilliance of Santner in the field. Rizwan made 71 in his long stay at the crease. Faheem Ashraf made fighting 91, just 9 short of his first ton in test cricket. NZ were quick in cleaning up the Pakistani tail as they were all out for 239. For NZ Wagner, Boult and Southee bagged a couple each while Jamieson picked 3 in first innings.

NZ came out to bat with a lead of 192 runs. The openers didn’t fail this time as they went on to add 111 run stand for the first wicket. Pakistan finally got their first breakthrough in the second innings in form of Tom Blundell. Mohammad Abbas knocked the stumps over as Blundell went back to the pavilion after scoring 64 off 107 deliveries. Latham too joined his partner as he went back at score of 53 courtesy a beautiful delivery by young Naseem Shah. Naseem was on a roll as he got the NZ skipper Kane Williamson quickly as well as Henry Nicholls. New Zealand declared their second innings on 180 and set a target of 372 for Pakistan to chase in a day and one session.

The Pakistani openers were sent back on a duck as Pakistan was struggling on 0/2 . Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail tried to get the situation in control but the resistance couldn’t last long as Sohail fell to Southee. Ali and Alam got Pakistan through the day without losing any wicket. On the final day, Ali was sent back to the pavilion in the very second over by Boult. The match was looking going NZ’s way as they were eyeing a quick victory. But the Pakistani middle order had other plans as Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan played the NZ bowling well. Alam went on to score his second test ton which came after almost 12 years. He was well supported by Rizwan once again as he played a decent hand of 60 in the second innings as well. As it was looking that Pakistan might get away with this match, just before the tea, Rizwan fell to Jamieson.

Soon Alam too fell to Wagner’s short delivery. The Pakistani tail tried to take the game as far as they could but couldn’t get the team home as they were bowler out for 271. For NZ Wagner, Boult, Southee, Jamieson and Santner each grabbed 2 wickets as they became the Number 1 team in tests.

Kane Williamson was declared Man of the match for his wonderful century in the first innings.