Tailenders hang on after Sarfraz's fighting ton as Pakistan earn share of spoils with NZ.

KARACHI -- In an incredibly tense finale, in the dying light, tailenders Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed staged Pakistan's last act of defiance. New Zealand were looking to grab the final wicket to win this second and final Test and the clinch the series. They pleaded with the umpires to let play go on for as long as possible and bowled 21 deliveries to Pakistan's last pair in desperate hope of getting that wicket.

Every block by the duo was being cheered on after Sarfraz Ahmed's dismissal for a magnificent 118 had brought them together at the crease. Amid nerve-shredding drama, Naseem even got a six and a four while Abrar fetched a boundary as Pakistan finished at 304-9 in their fourth innings to grab a draw after New Zealand had set the hosts a target of 319.

The credit for Pakistan pulling off a draw, though, was largely due to Sarfraz's anchoring knock. The in-form wicket-keeper-batter, with half-centuries in each of his three previous innings in the series, had arrived at the crease with Pakistan at 77-4, having just lost their captain and batting mainstay Babar Azam. It was soon 80-5 when Shan Masood was dismissed.

It was then that Sarfraz, who got off the mark with a boundary off New Zealand quick Matt Henry, got stuck in with the obdurate Saud Shakeel and pushed back the advances of the visitors. They stitched a 123-run partnership spanning 175 minutes to put Pakistan on course for a late charge.

While Sarfraz kept the scoreboard ticking by getting singles and boundaries, Saud was more than cautious. It was after tea, with Pakistan still requiring 140 to win, that Sarfraz showed his intent that he was going for the chase. He swept Michael Bracewell (4-75) for a four and bettered it with a six over mid-wicket off the very next delivery.

The left-handed Saud, meanwhile, was blocking the other end, frustrating New Zealand the same way as he'd done in the first innings where he ended with an unbeaten 125. Here, though, New Zealand were able to find a way thanks to Bracewell's off-break after Saud had played 145 deliveries without giving a chance and scoring 32.

Saud had just smacked Bracewell (4-75) for the fourth boundary but when he attempted a cut only for Daryl Mitchell to hold on to a sharp catch on the second attempt at slip. But with Sarfraz at the crease, Pakistan had hope and the 35-year-old cracked consecutive boundaries off Bracewell to enter the 90s. As he neared the century mark, every run he made was applauded and with the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT