New Zealand claim 2-1 series win over Pakistan with dramatic victory in Abu Dhabi

High fives all round for the Kiwis who won the crunch Test in the UAE capital to claim the three-match series. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2018
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New Zealand claim 2-1 series win over Pakistan with dramatic victory in Abu Dhabi

  • Black Caps bowl hosts out for 156 to win first away series against Pakistan in 49 years.
  • Pakistan let first innings lead slip for second time in series.

ABU DHABI: Debutant Will Somerville grabbed three key wickets to guide New Zealand to their first away series win over Pakistan in 49 years with a crushing 123-run win in the third and final Test on Friday.
The off-spinner took three for 52 and was aided by fellow spinner Ajaz Patel’s three for 42 as Pakistan came up well short after being set a daunting 280-run target in 79 overs.
They crumbled to 156 in 56.1 overs on a weary pitch at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The victory gave New Zealand a 2-1 series win after they had taken the first Test by a narrow four-run margin at the same venue. Pakistan bounced back with an innings and 16-run win in the second Test in Dubai.
New Zealand’s last away series win against Pakistan was a 1-0 victory in matches played in Pakistan in 1969.
It was the Black Caps’ fifth Test series win in their last six played since November 2016. They beat Pakistan, Bangladesh, the West Indies and England — all at home — with the single loss came against South Africa.
Somerville, who took four for 75 in the first innings to finish with seven wickets in the match, broke a stubborn 43-run sixth-wicket stand between top scorer Babar Azam (51) and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who made 28.
Patel ended Azam’s 114-ball resistance before getting the last wicket when he dismissed Hasan Ali for four, sparking celebrations among the New Zealand players.
Pakistan were again let down by sloppy batting.
They were off to a disastrous start when Mohammad Hafeez, in his last innings before he retires from Test cricket, was bowled by fast bowler Tim Southee for eight.

MATCH-TURNING INNINGS

Medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme had first-innings centurion Azhar Ali caught behind for five before Somerville’s double strike pushed Pakistan to 55 for five at lunch.
Somerville had Haris Sohail caught off a tentative push in the slip with his third ball of the first over for nine and next ball had first innings centurion Asad Shafiq caught behind off the glove.
In the last over before lunch Imam-ul-Haq, watching four wickets fell at the other end, gave an easy catch to forward short-leg off Patel for 22.
Earlier, New Zealand declared their second innings on 353 for seven after some 45 minutes of batting with Henry Nicholls remaining unbeaten on 126 and Kane Williamson dismissed at his overnight score of 139.
That 212-run stand between Williamson which brought New Zealand back into the game on Thursday, was finally broken with the very first ball of the day.
Medium pacer Hasan Ali trapped Williamson leg before and even a review did not prolong the New Zealand skipper’s innings.
But his 283-ball knock, containing 13 boundaries, turned the match.
Nicholls took a sharp single to complete his third Test hundred and finished with 12 hits to the ropes during his 266-ball knock.
De Grandhomme struck two boundaries and two sixes as New Zealand added 81 runs in 45 minutes, ensuring they set up a daunting target for Pakistan.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah finished with four for 129 and debutant paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi took two for 85.


Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

Updated 20 February 2019
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Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

  • Five-time world champion feeling confident of a sixth crown ahead of new season.
  • Pre-season testing going well in Barcelona.

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals they had better get ready to catch his dust as he is feeling “better than ever” ahead of the season.
The 34-year-old Briton enjoyed a near flawless run to secure his fifth drivers’ title last year. He won 11 of the 21 races to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with two races to spare, and he expects the Italian marque to once again keep him on his toes.
“Ferrari are very strong,” Hamilton said in Barcelona on the third day of pre-season testing.
“It appears they have a better package than last year, which means it will be a bigger challenge for us.
“In the last few years, Ferrari has looked good from the very beginning so that’s to be expected.”
But he said it would be a mistake to draw any hard and fast conclusions from the evidence thrown up by testing.
“We’ll have a better idea I guess this time next week where we stand but still then we won’t know what fuel loads everybody is on and who is showing their cars and who isn’t.”
Hamilton, with a new two-year deal that will earn him £40 million ($52 million) a season, is buzzing after the winter recess.
“I feel in the best shape that I’ve been in,” he assured his fans, as he embarks on his quest for a sixth championship and record sixth consecutive constructors’ crown for Mercedes.
On a sixth title he shrugged: “I am not even focusing on that. It’s a new season, a new year, a new chapter and we have to approach like it’s our first.
“We’re going for number one, that’s how I approach it.
“But it’s not something that I allow my peers to talk about. It’s not what we are here for to focus on that number.”
He dismissed out of hand any notion of complacency setting in at his all-conquering team.
“We are always driven to do something new and to break boundaries and do stuff that no one else has done before but we are fully aware of the work that it will take to deliver something like that and it’s by no means like ‘yeah we are going for the sixth’ like it’s a relaxed thing.
“It’s not like that.”
Hamilton’s bid for title number six begins at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17.