Pakistan Returns to Test Cricket
BY Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
On December 06, the anniversary of the ghastly preplanned destruction of grand Babri Mosque by the Indian terrorists in 1992 with state support and guidance, Pakistan beat New Zealand and leveled the three-Test series against New Zealand at 1-1 with a crushing 141-run win at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. Mohammad Asif starred with five wickets as Pakistan clinched the second Test by 141 runs against New Zealand, squaring the three-match series on day four at the Basin Reserve. Asif rounded off his four-wicket effort in the first innings with 5-67 as his match haul of nine wickets had New Zealand, chasing a near-impossible 405 to win, folded up for 263 on the fourth day. Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria took 3-74 and teenage fast bowler Mohammad Aamer returned 2-64 as Pakistan bounced back in the series after New Zealand had won the first Test by a narrow margin.
Pakistan’s fight back spirit is incredible in real matches. After losing the first Test, Pakistan have taken charge of the second Test against New Zealand after establishing a 229-run lead at stumps on day two in Wellington. It did not take long for the hosts to wrap up the innings, Asif (four) and Gul (31) falling 20 minutes before lunch. New Zealand began day four at 70-3 needing a further 335 for victory, but lost Peter Fulton in the third over of the morning with only five runs added. Ross Taylor fired nine fours and five sixes in his 97 but was denied a fifth Test ton when he was the sixth man out. New Zealand did not start their reply well, Mohammad Aamer taking the wicket of Martin Guptill for a first-ball duck while Asif dismissed Tim McIntosh for four to leave the home side on 5-2. Flynn's wicket sparked a collapse, with New Zealand losing their last five wickets for 14 runs.
New Zealand was done in by a paltry score of 99 in the first innings. The visitors from Islamabad resumed on 161-6 but managed to reach 264 all out, Kamran Akmal (70) and Umar Gul adding 64 runs for the eighth wicket. They then dismissed New Zealand for 99, with paceman Mohammad Asif and spinner Danish Kaneria taking seven wickets. It was a fine day for Pakistan, who had Akmal and Gul to thank for a respectable first-innings total. Typically, the route to victory was a convoluted one, for dismissing 16 batsmen - they dropped six catches blind penguins wouldn't have let go in the second innings - is clearly more fun than just ten. It was their bowlers who set up the game by bundling out the Kiwis for 99 in their first innings. Mohammad Asif and Danish Kaneria were the heavies this innings, but at all times Mohammad Aamer and a luckless Umar Gul were chomping at the bit behind them. Asif was superb in this match as well, hitting the right line and length and he has now taken 17 wickets so far in this series. Aamer and Kaneria supported him well all throughout the match.
Mohammad Asif took the final wicket to seal his fifth five-wicket Test haul. Finally, after one year struggle, Pakistan tasted victory in Test Cricket against a strong team New Zealand in NZ. The very shape and variety of this attack, the threat of wickets alive in each of them, did for New Zealand in Wellington, taking Pakistan to an ultimately comfortable 141-run win to level the series. The hosts bowled Pakistan out for 239 in their second innings on the third day, but Pakistan did the concluding part by winning the Test with a clinical effect. Needing 405 for victory, New Zealand were dismissed for 263 during the middle session. Middle-order batsman Ross Taylor top scored in the New Zealand second innings with 97, while Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif took five for 67 to end with a match analysis of nine for 107 and the man-of-the-match award. The only area of concern is their fielding which looked pathetic in this game. New Zealand on the other hand has made a change in their top order, which has been their weak link so far. Congrats. It was indeed an emphatic win for Pakistan as they beat New Zealand by 141 runs to level the series. Pakistan. Surely this victory will make Pakistan’s reputation better in cricket.
Pakistan has now won their 3rd consecutive match at the Basin Reserve. In what looks like a real match, Pakistan and New Zealand have played a hectic cricket against the backdrop of a fictitious match between India and Sri Lanka to coincide with the anniversary of grand Babri Mosque, pulled down in a conspiracy by the Hindu terrorists in 1992. Now its time to maintain this performance and the fielders, who seem to be engaged n day dreaming on the field, should make addiction to take the catches, because Aussie will not show even minimum mercy if Pakistan drops catches against them. New Zealand won the first test in Napier by 32 runs. The final Test begins in Napier on 11 December. Pakistan goes there with a fabulously credible Test performance in Wellington and there is hardly any doubt it will clinch the test-3 plus the series. All the best!