Karachi: The first Test ended in a draw as bad light halted New Zealand’s victory bid and denied them a chance to go 1-0 up in the two-Test series after fine half-centuries by Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel and Sarfraz Ahmed helped Pakistan to declare and set a target of 138 in 15 overs for the visitors on the fifth day, here on Friday.
Chasing an achievable target, New Zealand were 61/1 in 7.3 overs with Devon Conway (18 not not out) and Tom Latham (35 not out) when both the teams shook hands due to a fading light. With this, Pakistan ended their four-match losing streak at home.
Resuming the fifth and last day at 77 for two and still needing 97 runs to make New Zealand bat again, Pakistan looked down and out when they slipped to 206 for seven (32 runs ahead) with 49 overs still remaining in the match.
However, the eighth and ninth wicket partnerships between Saud Shakeel (55 not out) and Mohammad Wasim Junior (43), and Saud and Mir Hamza, respectively helped Pakistan to declare their second innings at 311 for eight.
Earlier, Pakistan plunged into a crisis when nightwatchman Noman Ali (four) and captain Babar Azam (14) returned to the dressing room in a space of 34 balls to leave the home side in a bother at 100 for four and still needing 74 runs to make New Zealand bat again. Both the batters were adjudged leg before off Michael Bracewell and Ish Sodhi, respectively.
At that stage, Imam and Sarfaraz got together in a rescue act and added 85 runs for the fifth wicket before crisis struck Pakistan again.
Sarfaraz, immediately after reaching his second half-century of the match, paid the price for attempting a shot to a wide Sodhi delivery and was caught at the wicket, first innings centurion Salman Ali Agha missed a wrong-un from Sodhi and was bowled before Imam’s fighting knock ended when he was deceived by Sodhi to be smartly stumped by Tom Blundell.
Sarfaraz’s 53 came off 76 balls and included seven fours, while Imam was unlucky to miss his fourth Test century when he was dismissed for 96. His 206-ball knock was laced with 10 fours and a six.
For New Zealand, Ish Sodhi recorded his maiden five-fer while finishing with career-best figures of 6/86, while wicketkeeper Tom Blundell accounted for three Pakistan batters in the second innings to finish with seven dismissals in the match.
Brief scores: Pakistan 438 (Babar Azam 161, Agha Salman 103; Tim Southee 3-69) & 311/8 d (Imam ul Haq 96, Saud Shakeel 55*, Sarfaraz Ahmed 53; Ish Sodhi 6-86) drew with New Zealand 612/9 d (Kane Williamson 200 not out, Tom Latham 113, Devon Conway 92, Ish Sodhi 65; Abrar Ahmed 5-205) & 61/1
Match ended in a draw.