A stellar bowling display by the BLACKCAPS attack clinched a thrilling 32 run victory late on the final day of the first Test against Pakistan at the University Oval in Dunedin.
The BLACKCAPS only managed to add six runs this morning, taking their second innings total through to 153. This left Pakistan the target of 251 and gave both teams with a sniff of victory.
Shane Bond and Chris Martin went to work right away having the top three Pakistan batsman back in the hut after 10.1 overs.
Captain Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Akmal then swung the momentum back the tourists way with a 71 run partnership before Martin struck again to remove the prize wicket of Yousuf for 41.
The ebb and flow continued with Pakistan edging back ahead before Ian O’Brien struck back by snaring the wicket of Shoaib Malik shortly before tea leaving Pakistan needing 86 runs in the final session with five wickets in hand.
A superb caught and bowled by man of the match Bond turned the game firmly back in the BLACKCAPS favour when he got rid of first innings centurion Umar Akmal for 75.
Then O’Brien had Umar Gul out cheaply before Daniel Vettori took the final two wickets so secure the win.
The BLACKCAPS captain was full of praise for the bowling attack but singled out Bond as the key to victory, “exceptional effort, from the boys over the last couple of days. The way the bowlers stepped up, Bond, O'Brien, and Martin was great. The spell from Bond after Tea proved to be the difference.”
All of the bowlers were rewarded for their efforts with Shane Bond the best with three for 64. O’Brien picked up three for 63 with Martin and Vettori taking two apiece.
Day 4: Pakistan come back strong
Pakistan have wrestled back momentum on day four of the Test match at University Oval in Dunedin.
Shane Bond and Chris Martin wrapped up the Pakistani innings early dismissing the tourists for 332, leaving the BLACKCAPS with a lead of 97. Bond finished with five for 107 and Martin three for 63.
Mohammad Aamer got Pakistan off the best possible start, knocking over Martin Guptill and Daniel Flynn without a run on the board.
The loss of early wickets didn’t phase Ross Taylor who racked up his second half century of the match before a mix up saw him run out for 59.
Peter Fulton was next to go for a duck after not challenging an LBW decision that replays proved was not out.
The next four wickets belonged to Mohammad Asif who ripped out the heart of the batting line up leaving the BLACKCAPS on 147 for eight at the close of play.
The match in evenly poised with the BLACKCAPS looking to build on their 244 run lead tomorrow before having a crack at Pakistan.
Martin is still confident saying, “We may have let an opportunity slip today by not really batting them out of the game. But I still think with the lead that we had and the runs we’ve got now, the game is poised and it’s definitely there for us to take tomorrow.
“Anything over 250 on the last day, on a wearing wicket with variable bounce, is going to be a big ask – especially if we do everything in a disciplined manner and turn up prepared to win the game.”
Day 3: Late wickets hurt Pakistan
Pakistan have taken their first innings total through to 307 for eight on an enthralling third day at the University Oval in Dunedin.
The last three BLACKCAPS batsmen were bundled out for 25 this morning but the hard work was done on the previous days with the team reaching the total of 429.
Pakistan got off to a shaky start with Chris Martin picking up the early wickets of Khurram Manzoor and Imran Farhat before Shane Bond knocked over Fawad Alam, Mohammad Yousuf and Mohammad Yousuf to reduce the visitors to 85 for five.
The veteran strike bowler is playing his first Test after two years away from international cricket but looked like he’d never missed a match, steaming in bowling balls at over 150km/h.
“It is like starting again. It’s been good easing back through Twenty20 and one-day cricket but there’s still something special about Test matches – so it’s a great environment to be back in.," Bond said at the end of the days play.
“I didn’t expect to bowl 24 overs but in general I’m pretty happy to come through that. My body felt pretty good through the whole day and it’s always nice to get wickets – so I really enjoyed it."
Brothers Umar and Kamran Akmal fought back with a 174 run partnership to get Pakistan back in the match.
Kamran Akmal was eventually out for 82 handing Daniel Vettori his first wicket but it younger brother and debutant Umar who was the star of the show with a classy 129.
Vettori then picked up the wicket of Umar Gul leaving Pakistan on 307 for eight at the close of play – 122 runs behind.
Bond knows the early wickets are vital tomorrow morning, “We’re in a good position. It’s important we clean up those wickets tomorrow morning and have a good lead of hopefully 120 or 130.
“Then the game’s ours to set up – we could still lose if we bat poorly but if we play well we can set the game up and hopefully be the only team who can win the game."
It was Bond who dismissed the centurion to finish the day with the BLACKCAP best figures of four for 93.
Day 2: Vettori stars on disrupted day
Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori have batted the BLACKCAPS into a strong position at the end of a rain interrupted second day against Pakistan at the University Oval in Dunedin.
They combined for a 164 run partnership for the seventh wicket to give the BLACKCAPS control of the match.
Speaking after the match McCullum said, ““Dan and I generally bat pretty well together. We run well which tends to out pressure on the opposition, and we can turn over the strike pretty well with the left-hand right-hand combination.”
“It was good in terms of the partnership we were able to put together. We were in a pretty dicey situation at 210 for 6 so to be able to combine and get our team through to four sessions was very satisfying.”
The pair negotiated a difficult period late on day one with Brendon McCullum surviving a LBW decision that he referred and was then reversed by the third umpire off the second to last ball.
Starting the day 276 for six the BLACKCAPS experienced duo took control, punishing the poor deliveries and running keenly between the wickets.
Shortly before the end of the first session McCullum went for 78 – bowled by a cracking Umar Gul yorker.
The rain came shortly after lunch and continued throughout the afternoon with play resuming late in the day.
Unfortunately for Vettori, he fell one run short of what would have been his fifth Test century. His fine innings of 99 came off only 133 balls and included 14 boundaries.
Bad light finished play with the BLACKCAPS on 404 for eight.
The BLACKCAPS wicketkeeper batsman is satisfied with the position, “there’s still three days to go in the game and we’ve got a sizeable first innings total – so if we bowl well then hopefully we’ll give ourselves a real opportunity.”
Day 1: BLACKCAPS edge ahead on day one
The BLACKCAPS recovered from a disastrous start after being put into bat in the Test match against Pakistan at University Oval in Dunedin to finish the day on 276 for six.
Opener Tim McIntosh was bowled off the first ball by a well directed Mohammad Aamer yorker. First drop Daniel Flynn followed him back to the pavilion a short time later for 8 when he nicked one to the keeper off Mohammad Asif to have the home team teetering at 27 for two.
Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor then combined steady the ship, safely negotiating the rest of the morning session going to lunch on 75 for two.
Guptill was keen to play his shots early on but slowed his scoring rate when the spinner Saeed Ajmal came on. His reputation as a compulsive puller was further enhanced when he was caught at square leg off the bowling of Mohammad Aamer for 60 with the BLACKCAPS going to tea on 171 for three.
Taylor was more measured in his approach, quite happy to see the ball go through to the keeper and duck the shot deliveries but when he got his eye in the big shots came. He hit 13 boundaries and a six but fell just short of his fifth Test century on 94.
Speaking at the end of the day Taylor said, “It’s been a struggle for me over the last month and a half – so I’ve been working hard on my game with various people over the last week or so. It’s always good when you put the hard work in and get some reward.”
He also praised Gupill’s innings, “I thought (Martin Guptill) batted very well. He’s had a few starts over his career and it’s good for him to go on and get past fifty.”
Grant Elliott went cheaply for eight with Peter Fulton out for 29 as the BLACKCAPS lost their way in the final session.
The experienced Brendon McCullum (25*) and Daniel Vettori (40*) combined to nurse the innings through to the close of play and will look to extend the total tomorrow.
McCullum survived a late scare after disputing an LBW decision off the last ball of the match and having it over turned.
Dropped chances hurt Pakistan with Guptill getting two lives and Vettori dropped off the first ball he faced.
Mohammad Asif celebrated his return to the top level with three for 76 with seventeen year old Mohammad Aamer picking up two for 62.