Test match would eternally remain the pinnacle of the various formats in cricket. It requires sheer dedication and application from your players. To maintain high levels of concentration with a positive attitude throughout the five days to stay on top of your opponents is indeed a Herculean task.
The never say die attitude by New Zealand, secured one of the narrowest victories in Test history from the jaws of defeat against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
New Zealand elected to bat first after winning the toss. Pakistan renowned over the years for their penetrative bowling quickly had the Kiwis in tenterhooks claiming the first three wickets with 39 runs on the board. A 72-run partnership between Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls steadied the New Zealand innings as they ended with a score of 153. Williamson top-scored with 63 runs while Yasir Shah bamboozled the Kiwis claiming three wickets on a first-day pitch.
The Kiwis pegged back pegged back Pakistan, claiming a couple of wickets but a brilliant 83-run partnership between Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam revived Pakistan, who pushed ahead to 227 to salvage a 74 run lead. Trent Boult picked up four wickets.
The Kiwis did not make the best of starts as Tom Latham got his marching orders with an inswinger from Hasan Ali for a golden duck. An 86-run partnership between Jeet Raval and Kane Williamson for the second wicket provided stability to the Kiwi team. BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls chiselled a terrific 112-run partnership for the fifth wicket taking the Kiwi score to a respectable 249.
Needing just 175 runs for victory, Pakistan made a sedate start with 40 runs on the board before the first wicket fell. A couple of reckless shots from the Pakistani batsman saw them losing three wickets for eight runs. Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali steadied the innings with an 82-run stand for the fourth wicket taking Pakistan within touching distance to go one up in the series.
But Neil Wagner produced a full-length delivery after a series of short balls to have Shafiq fishing around his off-stump, triggering the batting collapse for Pakistan. Babar Azam was run-out for 15 after a misunderstanding with Azhar Ali, followed by Sarfraz Ahmed gloving one behind after adopting the sweep-shot leaving Pakistan needing 21 more runs for victory.
All hopes were pinned on Azhar Ali to take his team to victory shepherding the tail-enders. Unfortunately, the Pakistani tail did not wag as they holed out with 171 on the board. Ajaz Patel picked up five wickets which won him the Man of the Match for New Zealand, who are now 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Twitter erupted after an epic victory by New Zealand.