Pakistan storm to 10 wicket win

In a staggering batting collapse the BLACKCAPS lost all 10 second innings wickets for 78 runs in the final session, dismissed for just 110 having trailed by 92 runs on the first innings. Pakistan knocked off the 19 runs required for victory in 22 balls to take a 1-0 lead to Wellington for the second of two tests, which starts on Saturday.

"I think we fought pretty hard this morning to give ourselves a chance to come back into the game ... but then to let it all slip with a familiar batting performance in the third innings, it just leaves a really sour taste," New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said.

A mix of stellar bowling from the tourists and terrible decision making from the hosts conspired to decide the outcome in the space of 16 balls as New Zealand crumbled from 60 for two to 61 for six.

Left arm quick Wahab Riaz and left arm spinner Abdur Rehman were outstanding in sparking a collapse reminiscent of New Zealand's test loss to Pakistan here in 1993, when Wasim Akram and current coach Waqar Younis took five wickets each to bundle the hosts out for 93 chasing 127 for victory.

Riaz generated consistent pace even with a side strain that was causing him obvious discomfort and ended with three for 38 while Rehman, surely the man of the match, claimed three for 24 to back up his three for 51 in the first innings. Umar Gul cleaned up the tail to finish with three for 28.

"I think there is some credit to the way Pakistan bowled, particularly Riaz," Vettori acknowledged.

"He came in and bowled a 10-over spell which really gave them the impetus to come pretty hard at us. While we will always be disappointed to be bowled out like that, I think you do have to sit back and say it was a good bowling performance."

What is most baffling is that, aside from the odd ball which kept low, the Seddon Park wicket was far from the minefield New Zealand's effort suggests it might have been.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq had nothing but praise for his bowlers' effort.

"The wicket was a bit flat, a bit slow and it wasn't easy to get the batsmen out here but I think the bowlers did a fantastic job and they won the match today," he said.

After dismissing Pakistan for 367 an hour before tea, New Zealand made it the interval at 32 without loss but were obliterated in one session. Opener Tim McIntosh, who had survived three close shouts for leg before wicket and was dropped at first slip off, started the rot with a brain fade, charging Rehman and being stumped by Adnan Akmal for three.

Brendon McCullum was sawn off by umpire Rod Tucker for 35, adjudged to have gloved a pull shot to Akmal when replays clearly showed the ball flicked his thigh pad. Ironically, he had been given not out when a similar delivery scraped his glove in the first innings.

The next four wickets fell within the blink of an eye.

Martin Guptill threw away his wicket when he top edged a sweep shot off Rehman's bowling, Riaz produced a peach of a delivery to trap Ryder leg before with an inswinging yorker, Ross Taylor was run out by a direct hit from Misbah-ul-Haq after being called through by Kane Williamson, who was out caught off an inside edge which rebounded off his pad three balls later.

And all that within the space of a solitary run.

No 11 Chris Martin's 100th test run, achieved in his 60th test, was received by a standing ovation but the small crowd departed soon after.

Earlier Pakistan were bowled out for 367 in reply to New Zealand's first dig of 275. Asad Shafiq top-scored with 83 while Misbah made 62 for Pakistan, the pair combining for a defining fifth-wicket partnership of 149.

Brent Arnel finished with career best figures of four for 95 from 28 overs while Tim Southee picked himself up after a luckless return yesterday to finish with two for 82 from 32 overs. Arnel might easily have had his first five-wicket haul at test level but could only watch in despair as Taylor dropped a sitter at first slip.

Debutant wicketkeeper Reece Young grassed two tough chances as New Zealand dropped four catches in total in a horror day at the office.


BLACKCAPS fight hard but Pakistan stand firm

Pakistan are so often enigmatic but there was nothing at all mysterious about their approach with the bat as they attempted to grind down New Zealand's resilient attack on the second day of the first cricket test at Seddon Park here today.

Responding to New Zealand's first innings of 275, Pakistan adopted a slow and deliberate method this afternoon as they tried to wear down New Zealand's pace attack, which has done an admirable job by giving the tourists very little in hot conditions and on the flattest of wickets.

The hosts even managed to get their noses ahead for the first time in the match when Pakistan were reduced to 107 for four in the middle session, but a rearguard action from captain Misbah-ul-Haq and the diminutive frame of Asad Shafiq saw the visitors survive the final session unscathed, moving through to 235 for four at stumps.

Aside from a couple of reverse sweeps from Misbah late in the day, there was nothing flashy about the batting, but they have done enough to edge ahead after two days in what is shaping as a war of attrition after putting on 128 runs in an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand.

Shafiq ended the day on 74, his highest test score, while and Misbah is 50 not out.

There was very little for New Zealand to get excited about in the final session as Misbah and Shafiq added 99 runs in 35 overs, though captain Daniel Vettori, who is battling with an illness, had a good shout for leg before against Shafiq and, in the same over, an even better one for a stumping after some neat work by Reece Young. Both were turned down.

New Zealand's effort with the ball cannot be faulted but they will need early wickets tomorrow with the new ball due at the start of play.

Pace bowlers Chris Martin and Brent Arnel produced top post-lunch spells in testing conditions as New Zealand claimed three wickets for just 69 runs in the session, with honours then even.

Martin, with two for 67, and Arnel (two for 53) were demanding and able to get the odd bit of movement off the pitch to trouble the Pakistani batsmen. They were well supported by Tim Southee, who bowled well without luck, while Vettori has battled to bowl 22 miserly overs, conceding just 22 runs.

Pakistan this morning took just 47 balls to finish off the New Zealand innings before moving briskly through to 67 for one at lunch.

New Zealand resumed at 260 for eight but lost their last three wickets for 15 runs to end a disappointing batting performance.

Southee was out on the third ball of the day for 56, his overnight score, while Kane Williamson's impressive knock ended soon after when he top edged a hook shot and was out for 50.

Pace bowler Tanvir Ahmed finished with innings-best figures of four for 63 from 18.5 overs after taking two wickets today, while left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman did not get a chance to add to his overnight haul of three for 51 from 30 overs after a good allround bowling performance from the tourists.

The hosts had four players -- Williamson, Southee, Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill -- score fifties but the top score of the innings was just 56, jointly achieved by McCullum and Southee.


Williamson and Southee fightback

A new coach, a new year, but some old problems for New Zealand to address after the top-order failed on day one of the first cricket test against Pakistan at Seddon Park here today.

New coach John Wright had emphasised the need for the top six to bat time and score heavily in the first innings, so he will be bitterly disappointed tonight as he reflects on a day that saw the hosts fall behind on points at 260 for seven.

New Zealand have nobody to blame but themselves, and perhaps impressive Pakistan left-arm sipnner Abdur Rehman, who was almost made to look unplayable at times in wielding down 29 overs unchanged from the southern end -- he bowled 30 in total -- that yielded the worthy figures of three for 51.

Certainly the pitch contains no demons and the ease at which Kane Williamson, who is unbeaten on 44 in his first test on home soil, and Tim Southee, with some classy shots and eight fours in 56 not out, his second test half century, have scored 83 runs in a fighting eighth-wicket partnership suggests batting is not onerous.

Although Pakistan won the toss and bowled, New Zealand made it through the most difficult period for batting and went to lunch at 78 for one as the tourists' decision appeared to have backfired.

As it turned out, they were spot on, but instead it was the post-lunch session, when the deck flattened out and the skies had cleared, when they made serious inroads as the hosts wilted under the sustained pressure of Rehman, who received good support from pacemen Umar Gul (one for 78) and Tanvir Ahmed (two for 54).

Having looked good in reaching 56, albeit fortuitously, Brendon McCullum's dismissal started New Zealand's concerns after they had been cruising at 92 for one.

McCullum came out firing after lunch but the ball after smacking Gul over midwicket for his second six, he sliced a wide delivery directly to Azhar Ali at deep point. The Otago batsman, who had some luck on 34 when he was given not out by Australian umpire Rod Tucker despite clearly gloving a pull shot off Wahab Riaz to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, was visibly furious at himself.

New Zealand had some bad luck -- Jesse Ryder was run out for 22 backing up too far at the non striker's end and debutant wicketkeeper Reece Young was adjudged leg before wicket by Australian umpire Daryl Harper for 14 when Rehman's delivery appeared to hit him outside off stump -- but so, too, did Pakistan, particularly in the morning session when edges failed to go to hand and McCullum got the favourable decision from Tucker.

Martin Guptill's wicket, on the stroke of tea, was key for Pakistan. Guptill had battled for nearly four hours and faced 164 balls in getting to 50 before lobbing a waist high full toss from Rehman straight to Misbah-ul-Haq at cover, a weak end to what had been a stoic and disciplined innings and one which saw the hosts go to tea at 160 for five and with their lower order again asked to score runs to achieve a respectable score.

The unerring accuracy of Rehman was prominent throughout the afternoon. At one point he rolled down five consecutive maiden overs and he also spun the odd ball quite markedly, a rare sight on the first day of a Seddon Park test.

New Zealand need Williamson and Southee to press on tomorrow to give Daniel Vettori a chance to match his counterpart.


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