Sarfaraz leads Pakistan to thrilling draw with New Zealand


Sarfaraz Ahmed plays a shot during the match. AFP

Sarfaraz Ahmed continued his red-hot form with a thrilling century to help Pakistan draw a nail-biting second and final test against New Zealand as the series ended 0-0 on Friday.

The 35-year-old Sarfaraz, who also struck half-centuries in his three previous innings after being recalled for the series following a near-four year absence, made 118 before the last-wicket pair hung on in dimming light for 21 balls to take Pakistan to 304-9, just 15 runs shy of its victory target.

New Zealand took seven wickets on the final day and was within one more scalp of forcing a win.

Sarfaraz stood firm for 4 fours and 48 minutes and featured in a second successive century stand with Saud Shakeel (32) after the Black Caps had reduced Pakistan to 80-5 before lunch thanks to Michael Bracewell (4-75) claiming two wickets in six deliveries.

 Sarfaraz Ahmed performs Sajdah, a prayer bow in gratitude to God, after scoring century. AP

Sarfaraz and Shakeel defied New Zealand for nearly three hours before Shakeel fell to a brilliant reflex catch in the slips by Daryl Mitchell early in the final session.

Agha Salman made a brisk 30 but was clean bowled by Matt Henry before New Zealand struck twice with the second new ball under fading light.

Hasan Ali was trapped leg before wicket by Tim Southee and Sarfaraz was superbly snapped up by Kane Williamson low at leg slip off Bracewell’s sharp off-spin, and the Pakistan batter walked off to a standing ovation from the sparse crowd at the National Stadium.

No. 10 Naseem Shah and No. 11 Abrar Ahmed then held out against Bracewell and fellow spinner Ish Sodhi (2-59), with all 10 fielders around the bat, before bad light ended play with three overs left.

Associated Press


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