Test series drawn 1-1 after riding wave of emotion in Sharjah.

Record total takes BLACKCAPS to historic win

DAY FOUR: Pakistan 351 and 259 (Trent Boult 4-38, Mark Craig 3-109, Ish Sodhi 2-82, Asad Shafiq 137) lost to BLACKCAPS 690 by an innings and 80 runs in Sharjah.

The BLACKCAPS have beaten Pakistan by an innings and 80 runs at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, in a Test which entralled from start to finish and saw numerous record broken. The victory sees the BLACKCAPs draw the series 1-1, a truly significant result considering the tragic events around Phil Hughes, which deeply affected both teams. 

Scorecard

The BLACKCAPS posted an all-time high score of 690 in their innings, which featured a double-century from Brendon McCullum and 192 to Kane Williamson. Facing a deficit of 339, Pakistan could only manage 259 in their second stint with the bat, with Trent Boult (4-38) and Mark Craig (3-109) leading the BLACKCAPS bowling attack.

Those three scalps to Craig saw him finish with match figures of 10-203. They represented career best figures for Craig and best figures for any bowler at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, overtaking Shane Warne.

Earlier in the day, Craig (65) and Ish Sodhi (22) had resumed at 637-8. The duo would continue to plunder the Pakistani bowling attack, taking New Zealand through to an innings record of 690 all out.

Craig became the sixth BLACKCAPS player to bring up his 50 – the first time this has happened for New Zealand in the one innings.  Between them they also added another two sixes to solidify the team’s record for most sixes in an innings (22).

Once the BLACKCAPS innings finally came to an end they still had an opportunity to bowl at Pakistan before lunch. It was during this time that they made a significant step towards winning the Test.

Three quick wickets to Trent Boult reduced the hosts to 24-3. That included the key scalp of Younis Khan, who was trapped lbw without scoring.

After lunch four further wicket all but assured the BLACKCAPS the victory, with Craig and Sodhi doing the damage. They wouldn’t have it all their own way though, with Shafiq putting up a valiant fight with the bat, blasting 137 off 148 balls.

However, a BLACKCAPS victory was becoming inevitable and when Boult dismissed Shafiq in the 63rd over it left Pakistan with a single wicket remaining, leaving Craig with the opportunity to take his 10th wicket for the match – one which he took with open arms to complete a sensational performance by the BLACKCAPS.

This makes five series on the trot undefeated for the BLACKCAPS, but this one is particularly memorable for the troubling circumstances that surrounded it. To go out there and perform the way they did, the BLACKCAPS have certainly done New Zealand proud.

Records:

- 690 is New Zealand's highest test total eclipsing the 680-8 declared against India in February.
- Three of NZ's six highest totals have come in the last 12 months.
- The 297-run partnership between Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson is NZ's best for the 2nd wicket against all countries. 
- McCullum has made the most double centuries (4) by a New Zealander; it's one of five to be scored at a better than 100 strike rate.
- McCullum made NZ's fastest test century in 78 balls.
- McCullum joins Sir Donald Bradman and Michael Clarke as players to make a triple century and two or more double centuries in a 12-month period.
- Mark Craig's 7 for 94 are the best innings bowling figures at the venue; his 10 for 203 are the best for tests.
- Ross Taylor became the 2nd New Zealander to take 100 test catches.
- Daniel Vettori's 112th test is a NZ record.

 

DAY THREE: Pakistan 351 all out trail BLACKCAPS 637-8 (Brendon McCullum 202, Kane Williamson 192, Ross Taylor 50, Corey Anderson 50, Tim Southee 50) by 286 runs in Sharjah.

In a match which will be remembered for a number of different reasons, the BLACKCAPS today wrote another incredible chapter on day the third Test against Pakistan.

Read Brendon McCullum's statement on behalf of the BLACKCAPS

After an emotional day two in the wake of Phillip Hughes tragic passing, the BLACKCAPS resumed play at 249-1 and trailing by 102 runs, and ended it 637-8 with a lead of 286 runs.

Captain Brendon McCullum scored an astonishing fourth career double century with 202, and alongside 192 from Kane Williamson put on a New Zealand record partnership of 297 runs for the second wicket. It’s also the third highest stand for any wicket for a New Zealand side ever. The BLACKCAPS also broke the world record for most sixes in an innings, having currently hit 19 and surpassing the previous record of 17 by Australia.

The day started in much the same way that it had ended yesterday – with the BLACKCAPS launching a full scale attack on the Pakistan bowlers. McCullum continued to blaze the attack to all parts, while Williamson also kept a strong strike-rate, bringing up his ton, from 124 balls. As McCullum and Williamson continued to thrive, the BLACKCAPS completely erased the Pakistan lead and quickly accumulated their own with nine wickets in hand.

The next big moment was the skipper brining up his double-century. Apart from producing such an innings under uniquely difficult circumstances, the knock also saw McCullum become only the third player to score a triple century and two double centuries in a calendar year. He joins some pretty elite company in Don Bradman and Michael Clarke. He also became the highest run-scorer for New Zealand in a calendar year ever, boasting a mammoth 969 runs.

McCullum departed almost immediately after reaching 200, but Williamson and Taylor (50) didn’t miss a beat. At one stage it looked as if Williamson may score a double century as well, which would have been the first time in New Zealand history that two batsman had done it in the same innings.

In the end he fell eight runs short, but between he and McCullum they had assured the BLACKCAPS a sizable first-innings lead. Corey Anderson (50) and Tim Southee (50) also added exciting half-centuries, with the latter hitting two sixes to surpass Australia’s record for sixes in an innings.

It was another record broken on what has been an astounding two days of cricket. Mark Craig (34*) and ish Sodhi (0*) will resume tomorrow looking to continue increasing the lead.

 

DAY TWO: Pakistan 351 (Mohammad Hafeez 197, Mark Craig 7-94) lead BLACKCAPS by 249-1 (Brendon McCullum 153*, Kane Williamson 76*) by 102 runs at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah. 

Scorecard

On a day where Test cricket seemed the farthest thing on everyone’s minds, players included, the BLACKCAPS delivered a rousing performance on day two of their Test against Pakistan in Sharjah. The devastating passing away of Phil Hughes was still raw amongst all those involved in the match, with the past 24 hours being some of the most emotional in the cricket community’s history.

In the opening session Mark Craig took career best figures of 7-94 to help dismiss Pakistan for 351. The second and third sessions were the McCullum show, with the skipper blazing New Zealand’s fastest ever Test century from 78 balls, going to stumps unbeaten on 153 with the BLACKCAPS 249-1. It was an eerie start to the day and that never really changed throughout the day.

The BLACKCAPS #putoutyourbats as soon as they arrived at the ground

The most important moment of the day happened before a ball had been bowled, with players, officials and the fans observing a minute’s silence prior to play. Both teams wore black armbands, while many of the BLACKCAPS wrote the initials PH beneath the fern on their tops. While it was clear where the players’ thoughts were, the BLACKCAPS performance though was nothing short of extraordinary.

On the field, Tim Southee got the ball rolling for the BLACKCAPS, enticing an edge from Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq who departed for 38. It was a key moment, not that you could tell from the visitors reactions, who showed no celebration for that wicket or any of the six that followed. Noticeably, the BLACKCAPS also didn’t bowl a single bouncer.

Mark Craig made best figures of 7-94

Five of the wickets be would courtesy of Craig, who bamboozled the Pakistani batsmen with his flight on the ball - and gave Ross Taylor his 100th Test catch in the slips. His incredible spell meant that the host side would only add 66 runs for their final seven wickets. Craig’s figures were the best by any bowler on the Sharjah Cricket Stadium pitch.

The BLACKCAPS batting was equally as sensational, with McCullum showing his intentions early in the innings. Zulfiqar Babar’s first over saw him slammed for two sixes and the rest of the bowling attack wasn’t spared either. Five fours and four sixes later, McCullum brought up his 50 from 30 balls – the second fastest in NZ history. His aggressive manner saw the BLACKCAPS make a mammoth 164 runs in the second session alone.

Brendon McCullum is unbeaten on 153*

A brief 78 balls into his stay at the crease, McCullum took a quick single which propelled him to his century. As an incredible effort as it was, once again celebrations were subdued. It did put McCullum into the record books though, surpassing team mate Ross Taylor’s previous record (81 balls) for the fastest NZ Test century ever. Between he and Kane Williamson (76*) the pair put on an unbeaten 198 for the second wicket and have the BLACKCAPS within 102 of Pakistan’s first innings total.

It capped a day like no other in Test cricket, which was surreal from beginning to end. The BLACKCAPS performed admirably under difficult circumstances. Hopefully they can do the same again tomorrow.

DAY ONE

Pakistan finish day one of the third and final Test against the BLACKCAPS in a strong position, finishing 281-3 at stumps. Mohammed Hafeez anchoring the home side throughout the day, making an unbeaten 178 on a flat pitch in Sharjah. Mark Craig led the BLACKCAPS bowling attack with two wickets, while New Zealand’s newest high Test cap record holder Daniel Vettori also snagged a scalp.

Both captains had conceded before the match that the toss was incredibly important - on a pitch that didn’t have a blade of grass on it and was expected to give the bowlers nothing, both teams were desperate to bat first. Brendon McCullum called heads… it landed on tails. Misbah ul-Haq promptly and unsurprisingly opted to bat.

Hafeez, who was in superb touch during the opening Test of the series but missed the second through injury, came out and found his rhythm early. His partner Shan Massod (12) was not quite as convincing though and was bowled by Mark Craig in the 17th over.

That brought Azhar Ali to the crease, who has arguably been the pick of the Pakistani batsmen so far this series. He and Hafeez took their side through to 82-1 at lunch, adding 93 overall for the second wicket. Ali though would falter in the second session, giving Craig his second wicket when he edged to Ross Taylor at first slip. It was a timely breakthrough for the BLACKCAPS and they quickly followed it up with another. The imposing figure of Younis Khan (5) strode out to the wicket, but thanks to man of the moment Vettori, his stay would brief. The record setting 35-year-old trapped Khan lbw, with his decision to use a review not saving him.

Hafeez continued to carry Pakistan’s momentum though. Apart from a very close shout for caught behind off Vettori, the opening batsman was near unstoppable on the way to a century from 130 balls. Between he and ul-Haq, the pair added an unbeaten 121 for the fourth wicket and saw Pakistan take the box seat in the Test.

There’s still four days to go and the BLACKCAPS have plenty of fight in them. Day two stats at 7pm tomorrow NZ time.

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