A Kane Williamson half century saw New Zealand snap a four-Test losing streak when they beat Pakistan by eight wickets on Sunday in the first Test at Hagley Oval.
A low-scoring match was wrapped up inside eight sessions after the first day’s washout, with Williamson’s second innings 61 — his 24th Test 50 — the top score of the match.
Set 105 to win after Pakistan were all out for 171 in their second innings on the morning of the fourth day, Williamson lost his wicket with the scores level, leaving debutant Jeet Raval to seal victory with a boundary off Yasir Shah.
It was a much-needed confidence boost for the home side, coming off a 3-0 series whitewash in India and a comprehensive 204-run loss to South Africa.
“It was a nice toss to win,” said Williamson who put Pakistan into bat on a seaming wicket and had them all out for 133 in their first innings.
“After a couple of really tough tours in South Africa and India, it was important we learned a lot but at the same time put some of that baggage away.”
Azhar Ali, who will take over the Pakistan captaincy with Misbah-ul-Haq having to dash home after the match because of a family illness, said the tourists had no excuses.
Azhar said Pakistan should have been able to cope better with the short-pitched barrage from Neil Wagner that undid them in the second innings.
“As a professional, as a team, we have to adapt to conditions wherever we go,” Azhar said.
“If you come to this part of the world, you expect that.
You expect sub-continent teams will be tested with that short stuff and we all knew that.
New Zealand’s debutants shone. Opener Raval was unbeaten on 36 in the second innings after top—scoring in the first innings with 55 while Colin de Grandhomme gave a masterful display of medium—paced bowling, taking 6 for 41 in the first innings when Pakistan were skittled for 133.
After New Zealand replied with 200, Pakistan resumed their second innings on Sunday at 129 for 7 and added a further 42 to be all out for 171.
Sohail Khan posted a Test—best 40 as he and Asad Shafiq (17) showed gritty resistance at the start of the day.
But their 53-run stand for the eighth wicket came to an end when Sohail half-heartedly pulled a short-pitched Southee delivery to de Grandhomme at backward square.