7 Jan 2023

Bad light again prevents outright victory for Black Caps

6:14 am on 7 January 2023
Pakistan's Sarfaraz Ahmed plays a shot during the second test against New Zealand, Karachi, 2023.

Sarfaraz Ahmed Photo: AFP

The second cricket test between New Zealand and Pakistan has ended in a draw after bad light again stopped what was set for an exciting finish in Karachi.

Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed's counter-attacking hundred foiled the Black Cap's bid for a series-clinching victory.

New Zealand were one wicket away from winning the match while Pakistan were 15 runs short of victory when bad light stopped play resulting in a 0-0 series stalemate.

Chasing 319 for victory, Pakistan had lost two wickets without a run on the board on Thursday and New Zealand took the upper hand claiming three wickets in the final day's morning session.

Poor shot selection by Imam-ul-Haq (12) and Shan Masood (35) compounded Pakistan's difficulties at Karachi's National Stadium.

Imam stepped out against Ish Sodhi only to lose his stumps and Shan charged down against Michael Bracewell (4-75) and ended up offering a swirling skier to Kane Williamson.

Bracewell had Babar Azam caught down the leg side by Tom Latham, who replaced the injured Tom Blundell behind the stumps.

Sarfaraz, whose career-best 118 was his first test hundred since 2014, turned the match on its head with a 123-run stand with Saud Shakeel (32).

They ensured Pakistan did not lose a wicket in the second session and turned the heat on New Zealand.

More drama unfolded in final session, especially after Agha Salman fell to Matt Henry and Sarfaraz cramped up.

With light fading, New Zealand could not use their seamers and Tim Southee, in his first series as test captain, had spin from both ends.

Bracewell dismissed Sarfaraz to put New Zealand on the cusp of victory but Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed hung on gamely to force a draw with Pakistan on 304-9.

"It came down to those last moments, great end to 10 days of pretty tough toil," Southee, in his first series as New Zealand's test captain, said at the presentation ceremony.

"We got ourselves to push for a win but Sarfaraz played with intent and took the game away from us in the second session."

Sarfaraz was rather sloppy behind the stumps in his comeback series but was named both the player-of-the-match and the player-of-the-series for his scores of 86, 53, 78 and 118.

"It was a dream comeback for Sarfaraz," Babar said.

"We kept backing him and it's very heartening to see his response when the opportunity came."