Dubai: Like so often in the past, Yasir Shah did it once again for Pakistan — this time against a clueless New Zealand team on the third day of the second Test on Monday.
An eight-wicket haul for 41 runs, the third-best figures ever by a Pakistan bowler, saw the leg spinner ripping through the visitors’ batting line-up in the first innings to skittle them out for 90 runs to take his team to within sights of a big win and level the three-Test series.
The Pakistan greats ahead of Shah’s career-best effort had been leg spin great Abdul Qadir (9-56) and seam exponent Sarfraz Nawaz (9-86), but it looks a matter of time before the wily spinner overhauls both these figures against touring teams in the UAE — found wanting in the technique of playing spin. The stocky bowler’s ability to give a ball a rip — along withthe third day wicket where the ball was often turning square — proved to be a source of nightmare for the visitors who did not show a positive intent to take him on.
Following on adrift 328 runs of Pakistan’s first innings total of 418 for five declared, opener Tom Latham and Ross Taylor showed a far greater character to finish the day at 131 for the loss of two wickets — putting on an unbroken 65-run stand for the third wicket. Senior pro Taylor, who fell to Shah for no score in the first innings, decided to take the leg spinner on as he dispatched a short delivery over mid wicket for the first six of the Kiwis in this Test far.
“When I came in the morning, I was thinking that I had to take 10 wickets in the match. I didn’t know that I would end up taking 10 wickets in a day, thanks to Allah,” the star of the day said later.
“Tomorrow I will try to help the team get those eight wickets as quickly as we can,” Shah said.
The classy leg spinner now boasts of the following figures: 12.3-1-41-8 and 15-2-65-2 and it’s anybody’s guess as to where he would finish in this Test match.
The odds are very much stacked against the visitors, who are trailing by 197 runs with eight wickets in hands but has two full days to bat through if they want to force the most unlikeliest of draws. There is no forecast of rains after the cloudburst on Sunday night, but they will need an intervention from the rain if they want to carry over the 1-0 lead to the final Test in Abu Dhabi.
As Dubai woke up to a damp morning on Monday, the chances of having any action looked remote. However, once the rains had stopped, the excellent drainage system at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium ensured that the match was delayed by barely an hour. Resuming at an overnight score of 24 for one, Kiwi openers Latham and Jeet Raval carried on with a sense of discipline and took the score past 50 when Raval was bowled for a composed 31 to hand Shah his first wicket.
A scoreline of 50 for one did not look ominous at all but disaster was waiting to strike round the corner. It was the 28th over of the innings when Shah snapped up three wickets (Latham, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls) to scar the visitors so badly from which they could never recover during the innings. New Zealand broke for lunch at 63 for four with a glimmer of hope to put up a fight as skipper Kane Williamson and Bradley-John Watling were still at the crease — but the hopes were dashed soon after lunch as the innings folded up after merely 35.3 overs.
From 50-1, it became 61-2 when Shah had Latham caught at short leg by Imam ul-Haq off the first ball of his ninth over. Two balls later, he bowled Taylor and then cleaned up Henry Nicholls with his fifth delivery through the gap between bat and pad.
Asked whether Shah thinks he is among the world’s best spinners, he said: “I just concentrate on my own game. I plan for every match and every series. I only focus on my own game. I don’t think too much about the other spinners. I just try to help my team win matches,” he added.
Pakistan 1st innings
Imam ul-Haq c Tom Latham b Colin de Grandhomme 9
Mohammad Hafeez c Tom Latham b Colin de Grandhomme 9
Azhar Ali Run Out (Sub) 81
Haris Sohail c BJ Watling b Trent Boult 147
Asad Shafiq c Neil Wagner b Ajaz Patel 12
Babar Azam Not Out 127
Sarfraz Ahmed Not Out 30
Extras 2b 0lb 1nb 0pen 0w 3
Total: 418 decl (167.0 overs)
Fall of Wickets: 1-18 Hafeez, 2-25 ul-Haq, 3-151 Ali, 4-174 Shafiq, 5-360 Sohail Did Not Bat : Asif, Shah, Ali, Abbas
Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Trent Boult 34 7 106 1 3.12
Colin de Grandhomme 30 11 44 2 1.47
Neil Wagner 37 12 63 0 1.70 1nb
Ajaz Patel 39 5 120 1 3.08
Ish Sodhi 22 1 63 0 2.86
Kane Williamson 5 0 20 0 4.00
New Zealand 1st innings
Jeet Raval b Yasir Shah 31
Tom Latham c Imam ul-Haq b Yasir Shah 22
Kane Williamson Not Out 28
Ross Taylor b Yasir Shah 0
Henry Nicholls b Yasir Shah 0
BJ Watling Run Out Hasan Ali 1
Colin de Grandhomme lbw Hasan Ali 0
Ish Sodhi c Sarfraz Ahmed b Yasir Shah 0
Neil Wagner lbw Yasir Shah 0
Ajaz Patel lbw Yasir Shah 4
Trent Boult st Sarfraz Ahmed b Yasir Shah 0
Extras 0b 3lb 1nb 0pen 0w 4
Total: 90 all out (35.3 overs)
Fall of Wickets: 1-50 Raval, 2-61 Latham, 3-61 Taylor, 4-61 Nicholls, 5-63 Watling, 6-69 de Grandhomme, 7-72 Sodhi, 8-72 Wagner, 9-90 Patel, 10-90 Boult
Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Mohammad Abbas 9 4 18 0 2.00 1nb
Hasan Ali 10 5 25 1 2.50
Mohammad Hafeez 2 1 1 0 0.50
Yasir Shah 12.3 1 41 8 3.28
Bilal Asif 2 1 2 0 1.00
New Zealand 2nd innings
Jeet Raval st Sarfraz Ahmed b Yasir Shah 2
Tom Latham Not Out 44
Kane Williamson c Sarfraz Ahmed b Yasir Shah 30
Ross Taylor Not Out 49
Extras 4b 2lb 0nb 0pen 0w 6
Total: 131-2 (43.0 overs)
Fall of Wickets: 1-10 Raval, 2-66 Williamson To Bat : Nicholls, Watling, de Grandhomme, Sodhi, Wagner, Patel, Boult
Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Mohammad Abbas 4 1 11 0 2.75
Hasan Ali 5 3 5 0 1.00
Yasir Shah 15 2 65 2 4.33
Mohammad Hafeez 3 1 6 0 2.00
Bilal Asif 14 1 30 0 2.14
Haris Sohail 2 0 8 0 4.00