Dubai: Yasir Shah, the hero of Pakistan’s comeback win in the Test series against New Zealand, was overcome with emotion on Tuesday afternoon — and with good reason. Not only did he banish any self doubt about his abilities on coming back from a hip bone injury, the leg-spinner’s 14-wicket match haul in the second Test has now put him on par with Imran Khan as the highest wicket-taker from a Test match for his country.
I was not getting my rhythm back in the earlier series but I am very satisfied with my bowling here.
When tail-ender Trent Boult’s outside edge was accepted with glee by wicketkeeper-captain Sarfraz Ahmad to help Pakistan complete a win by an innings and 16 runs and level the series 1-1, Shah’s six for 143 helped him with 14-184 from the Test. Only ‘King Khan,’ now the country’s Prime Minister, had better figures (14-116) against Sri Lanka in 1982, but there is no gainsaying that the smiling assassin has established himself among the pantheon of Pakistan’s bowling greats including Abdul Qadir — a practitioner of his own craft.
“After coming back from injury, I was not getting my rhythm back in the earlier series but I am very satisfied with my bowling here. The wicket was slower today and I was not getting the nip off it but finally I managed to take the wickets,” said Shah, whose second innings figures read 44.5-9-143-6 with two five-wicket hauls in as many days.
If Shah walked away with all the spotlight over the last two days, his skipper Ahmad did not forget to put things in perspective as to what won the Test match for them. “When we were coming from Abu Dhabi after a really heartbreaking loss in the first Test, I told the boys to leave the bitter memories there and focus on the next match. The efforts of Azhar Ali, Harris Sohail and Babar Azam over the first two days set it up for us while Yasir and Hasan Ali kept the pressure up on the Kiwis throughout today. In all my years that I have been playing Test cricket, I have never seen Yasir bowl so well,” he said.
“It was very clinical. I think we have bounced back incredibly well from a big disappointment in Abu Dhabi, where we dominated for four days almost, then lost it in an hour,” said Mickey Arthur, the Pakistan coach.
As a rejuvenated Pakistan will now be ready to go for the kill in the decider in Abu Dhabi, which begins on December 3, New Zealand can take heart from a far more improved batting show in the second innings when they were all out for 312 after being forced to follow on.
It was a more resolute batting performance on part of the visitors, who did not surrender the early initiative to Shah once again like Monday when they were dismissed in a heap for one of their lowest Test totals at 90 runs. Resuming at an overnight score of 131 for two, Ross Taylor stepped out to Hasan Ali for a boundary through the cover off the first ball of the day to reach his 29st half-century in Tests.
Looking strong enough to hit the first century for the visitors in the Test series, Taylor finally perished on the stroke of lunch being caught off an uppish sweep off Bilal Asif. His 82, with seven hits to the fence and a six, was a fine example of counter-attack under pressure. The innings must have come as a relief for Taylor, who had scrapped around for just 21 runs from three innings this series.
Watling then gave Shah the first wicket off the day when a straighter delivery from him caught the Kiwi wicketkeeper in front of the wicket for a leg before. A second look revealed that the delivery was pitched on the leg and middle stump and would have merited a review — though it would not have made much of a difference in the ultimate analysis.
Harry Nicholls, the eighth Kiwi wicket to fall (to Hasan Ali), was the second highest scorer of the innings with a patient 77 which came off 187 deliveries with seven boundaries and a six.
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 (167.0 overs) 418 decl
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 (35.3 overs) 90 all out
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 c Sarfraz Ahmed b Hasan Ali 50
Kane Williamson c Sarfraz Ahmed b Yasir Shah 30
Ross Taylor c Yasir Shah b Bilal Asif 82
Henry Nicholls b Hasan Ali 77
BJ Watling lbw Yasir Shah 27
Colin de Grandhomme b Hasan Ali 14
Ish Sodhi b Yasir Shah 4
Neil Wagner c Hasan Ali b Yasir Shah 10
Ajaz Patel Not Out 5
Trent Boult c Sarfraz Ahmed b Yasir Shah 0
Extras 9b 2lb 0nb 0pen 0w 11
Total: 312 all out (112.5 overs)
Fall of Wickets: 1-10 Raval, 2-66 Williamson, 3-146 Latham, 4-198 Taylor, 5-255 Watling, 6-270 de Grandhomme, 7-285 Sodhi, 8-301 Nicholls, 9-311 Wagner, 10-312 Boult
Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Mohammad Abbas 15 7 29 0 1.93
Hasan Ali 19 7 46 3 2.42
Yasir Shah 44.5 9 143 6 3.19
Mohammad Hafeez 3 1 6 0 2.00
Bilal Asif 27 5 61 1 2.26
Haris Sohail 4 0 16 0 4.00