We pushed for a win, but Sarfaraz's intent took game away from us, says NZ skipper Southee after draw against Pakistan

Sports Saturday 07/January/2023 09:11 AM
We pushed for a win, but Sarfaraz's intent took game away from us, says NZ skipper Southee after draw against Pakistan

Karachi: Following the draw in the second Test against Pakistan, New Zealand Test skipper Tim Southee said that the side was pushing for a win but veteran Sarfaraz Ahmed's century took the game away from Kiwis.

Pakistan's last wicket partnership between Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed survived 21 balls in fading light while Sarfaraz Ahmed slammed a fighting hundred to deny New Zealand a victory in the second Test here on Friday.

"It came down to those last moments, great end to ten days of pretty tough toil. We got ourselves to push for a win but Sarfaraz played with intent and took the game away from us in the second session. Funny game, we saw in the end it was still up for grabs," said Southee in a post-match presentation about the result.

"Sodhi's (Ish Sodhi) comeback after not playing Tests for a long time and he bowled very well and we are thrilled for him, Bracewell (Michael Bracewell) also bowled very well. We knew from the nature of the surface that things could happen late in the Test, but the way Sarfaraz batted took the game away from us. He was very busy and he was the difference or else the game could have gone the other way around," added the skipper about the match and his team's performance.

"You approach every Test to win. Tough tour to play 10 days in the same ground. We will try to chip in with some wins in the ODI's," concluded Southee about his approach as skipper and plans for the upcoming ODI series against the hosts.

Coming to the match, New Zealand elected to bat first and made 449 runs in their first innings. Devon Conway (122), Tom Latham (71) made contributions at the top while wicketkeeper-batter Tom Blundell (51) also scored a fifty. A 104-run stand for the final wicket between Matt Henry (68) and Ajaz Patel (35) propelled Kiwis to a massive score.

Abrar Ahmed (4/159) continued his dream run with the ball that he started against England, finishing as the pick of the bowler for Pakistan. Naseem Shah and Agha Salman took three wickets each.

In their first innings, Pakistan responded with 408 runs. Imam-ul-Haq (83) impressed once again, while Saud Shakeel (125) hit his maiden ton as well, continuing a fantastic start to his Test career. Sarfaraz also scored a brilliant 78.

Pakistan trailed Kiwis by 41 runs.

Spinners Ajaz Patel (3/88) and Ish Sodhi (3/95) were the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis. Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell picked up a wicket each.

Kiwis declared their innings at 277/5, gaining a 318-run lead over the hosts. Blundell (74), Michael Bracewell (74) and Tom Latham (62) scored vital half-centuries. Naseem Shah, Mir Hamza, Abrar, Hasan Ali and Agha Salman all got one wicket.

Chasing 319, Pakistan was reeling at 80/5 and risked losing the series. Sarfaraz and Saud weaved a 123-run stand to bring the hosts back in the game, but Bracewell removed Saud for 32.

Agha also stitched a valuable stand with Sarfaraz, who went on to hit his first-ever Test ton on home soil. But bad light halted Pakistan's chase, finishing at 304/9, with 15 runs left to chase. Naseem (15*) and Abrar (7*) could not take Pakistan across the line and the match was drawn.

The series was shared 0-0.

Bracewell (4/75) impressed with the ball, while Southee, and Sodhi picked two scalps. Henry also got a scalp.

Sarfaraz's heroics with the bat earned him both the 'Man of the Match' and 'Man of the Series' award. He scored 78 and 118 in this Test match. He emerged as the top scorer in the series with 335 runs in two matches, four innings at an average of 83.75. Sarfaraz scored one century and three fifties in his return series. Prior to this series, he had played his last Test against South Africa back in 2019. The rise of star wicketkeeper-batter Mohammed Rizwan put a halt on his career. But Rizwan's struggles since March 2022, from when he failed to score a fifty in his next 12 innings lead to Sarfaraz's recall.

Brief Scores: Pakistan: 408 and 304/9 (Sarfaraz Ahmed 118, Shan Masood 35, Michael Bracewell 4/75) drew with New Zealand: 449 and 277/5 declared (Tom Blundell 74, Michael Bracewell 74, Naseem Shah 1/43).