While India’s magnificent Melbourne win was understandably the Boxing Day Test that dominated the headlines, New Zealand’s last-gasp win over Pakistan wasn’t too bad either.
With India and South Africa both wrapping up victory in four days, the world headed into the December 30th with the Blackcaps’ Test the only one still ongoing. While rain had taken some time out of the game, with Pakistan having only seven wickets in hand going into the final day, most assumed New Zealand would wrap up an easy win.
Instead, the tourists, lead by a Fawad Alam century, mounted an extraordinary rearguard, losing only one wicket in the first two sessions of the final day. Even after breaking that partnership and sparking a collapse to leave Pakistan nine down with 11 overs to bat, the drama wasn’t done.
Last pair Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi kept out seven of those overs before Kane Williamson rolled the dice, throwing the ball to left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner and packing fielders around the bat. In the end though, it wasn’t one of the seven close-in fielders who claimed the decisive catch, but Santner himself, with Naseem chipping the ball up straight, only for the twirler to leap, stick out a hand, and complete a stunning grab.
The moment sparked delirious celebrations, with the moment potentially proving crucial in the race for the World Test Championship final.
It’s the kind of clip that gets better with each rewatch, especially after noticing the way New Zealand’s fielders all jumped in unison with Santner as he went up for the catch.
Watch the moment below:
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 30, 2020