Pakistan's Imam-ul-Haq plays a shot d
Pakistan's Imam-ul-Haq plays a shot during the fifth and final day of the first Test against New Zealand at the National Stadium in Karachi on December 30, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Karachi: New Zealand settled for a draw in the opening Test against Pakistan after bad light halted their victory charge in an entertaining final session at the National Stadium on Friday.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam threw down the gauntlet when he declared Pakistan's second innings on 311-8 in the final session of the contest.

It left New Zealand needing 138 runs for victory from the final 15 overs and the tourists raced to 61-1 in the eighth over before bad light forced a draw.

"I wouldn't say the win slipped away," Tim Southee, in his first match since taking over as New Zealand's test captain, said.

"We had to hang in and take chances. To have lost the toss and have had a chance was pleasing." Pakistan had been on the back foot since conceding a first innings lead of 174 and the immediate target was to try erase the deficit after the began the final day on 77-2.

Imam-ul-Haq topscored for the home side with 96 and Sarfaraz Ahmed (53) registered his second fifty in his comeback match but it was Pakistan's lower order who bailed them out.

Saud Shakeel remained unbeaten on 55, and number nine batsman Mohammad Wasim contributed 43 to frustrate New Zealand.

For New Zealand, Ish Sodhi returned a career-best 6-86.

Babar sprang a surprise with his late declaration and the home side looked anxious as New Zealand reacted positively to the challenge despite losing Michael Bracewell in the first over.

Tom Latham raced to 35 not out off 24 balls but light faded fast and the sides agreed on a draw.

"We wanted to get a result, as I said at the toss, and so we went for the declaration," Babar said at the presentation ceremony.

"But the light was not good enough, so (it ended in a draw)." Kane Williamson was adjudged player-of-the-match for his unbeaten 200 in his first test since relinquishing the red-ball captaincy.

"I still had quite a few chats with Tim," Williamson said of his role in the side.

"Nice to spend some time out there and make contribution...

"You have to do things a bit differently here than back home." The second test, also in Karachi, begins on Monday.