The first Test between Pakistan and New Zealand at National Stadium in Karachi witnessed a dramatic finish, with the hosts managing to earn a draw due to bad lights on the final day.
After Babar Azam’s bold move of declaring Pakistan’s second innings for 311/8, setting up New Zealand a target of 138, the tourists came out all guns blazing and scored 61/1 in 7.3 overs. Tom Latham was on a roll with a 24-ball 35-run knock featuring three fours and a six. However, bad light forced the match officials to settle both teams a draw which enlightened the tensed faces of Pakistan cricketers.
Earlier, Pakistan found solidity through Imam-ul-Haq, who brought up his sixth Test fifty to shore things up. He was well complimented by senior batter Sarfaraz Ahmed, who came up with a counterattack showcasing his skills against the spin attack.
The duo went on to add 85 runs and were looking well-set to cruise through before Ish Sodhi turned the game. The leggie broke the partnership by removing Sarfaraz for 53 and soon dismissed Agha Salman (6) as well as Imam to keep New Zealand’s hopes alive. Imam got out after scoring 96 off 206 balls, including 10 fours and a six.
Pakistan were indeed in trouble after Imam’s dismissal, however, Mohammad Wasim Jr and Saud Shakeel formed a brilliant partnership of 71 runs and kept Black Caps bowlers at bay. Pakistan skipper Babar then surprised everyone as he declared the innings at 311/8, setting up a target of 138 for New Zealand in 15 overs. Shakeel smashed an unbeaten 55 from 108 balls.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
I think Babar knew that the light wouldn't hold long enough. So he probably thinks Pakistan are safe anyway
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 30, 2022
Pakistan ended 2022 without a single win at Home in Test cricket.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 30, 2022
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 30, 2022
Pakistan lived a thin line between looking aggressive and reckless. #PakvNZ
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) December 30, 2022
Pakistan in Test matches at home this year
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) December 30, 2022
— ICC (@ICC) December 30, 2022
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) December 30, 2022
Saud Shakeel’s scores in tests:
Averaging 60 in test cricket!#PAKvNZ
— Haroon (@hazharoon) December 30, 2022
Saud Shakeel rising up to the occasion again! pic.twitter.com/Bkn3dYQoGz
— … (@HBA_162) December 30, 2022
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) December 30, 2022
To those suggesting Babar's declaration was on the inexplicably optimistic end of the cricketing-logic seesaw, there is a precedent of a Test team being bowled out in less than 15 overs. One precedent. In 1924. https://t.co/Btl5UH8drz
— Andy Zaltzman (@ZaltzCricket) December 30, 2022
Oh no!! The light meter came out and it was deemed too dark to continue – match ends in a draw
NZ might've wanted to continue a la England all those years ago#PAKvNZ
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) December 30, 2022
NZ would have chase 138 in 15 https://t.co/vg7LXeF2AK
— Abdul Ghaffar (@GhaffarDawnNews) December 30, 2022