New Zealand beat Pakistan by 101 runs on Wednesday after a thrilling finish to the first Test at Mount Maunganui, where the visitors were just 27 balls away from a brawl. Tail-enders Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah blocked seven overs in fading light before Naseem was caught and thrown by spinner Mitchell Santner for one, ending Pakistan’s resistance. The end for Pakistan had begun when Kyle Jamieson, celebrating his 26th birthday, broke the 165-run fifth wicket stand of Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan. The win was crucial for New Zealand, which must win the two-Test series to have a chance to win the World Test Championship final at Lord’s in June.
Once Jamieson claimed Rizwan’s crucial wicket, lbw for 60, Neil Wagner – bowling despite breaking two toes while hitting – removed Alam for 102 and New Zealand in the tail when Pakistan folded from 240 for four to get out all the way to be for 271.
Jamieson produced a particularly stingy spell after the tea break when he put down nine overs and took two for four.
Aside from Pakistan taking out New Zealand openers cheaply on day one, New Zealand had the match under control until Rizwan, the substitute skipper, joined Alam in the middle on the last morning with Pakistan 75 for four .
New Zealand needed six extra wickets, Pakistan needed 298 runs and more than 78 overs were left.
Through tea Alam and Rizwan were still together, Pakistan had cut the target to 158 in 36 overs and New Zealand still needed six wickets.
But Jamieson removed Rizwan 11 overs in the last session.
Jamieson had already come close several times and even his lbw scream at Rizwan was dismissed before the referee’s decision was overturned in review.
Alam, who had occupied the tuck with Rizwan over 63 overs, took another three overs until he gloved a short Wagner ball to wicket-keeper BJ Watling down the leg side.
Alam was thrown out by Pakistan in 2009 after three tests and a best innings of 168, and since his recall this year, his highest score was 21 against England in August.
There were a few loose shots early in his innings and a nerve-wracking moment when a ball bounced off his arm and bounced dangerously close to the stumps.
Otherwise, he steadfastly held out through 269 deliveries before starting his century with a four on Wagner, but only scored two runs on his next 33 balls before being fired.
New Zealand frontline bowlers Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Wagner, Jamieson and Santner each took two wickets.
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