@Yas_Wisden 3 minute read
Two finishes in the dark at Karachi yielded a pair of draws between Pakistan and New Zealand, extending both sides’ winless runs in Test cricket. Here is a combined team featuring players from both sides:
2 matches, 232 runs @ 77.33, HS: 122
With the exception of his first-baller in the second innings of the second Test, Conway was in imperious form. He scored briskly on a quicker deck in the second Test to boost New Zealand’s prospects of victory.
2 matches, 218 runs @ 93.66, HS: 113
New Zealand’s highest run-scorer in the series and like his opening partner, scored at a decent rate.
2 matches, 277 runs @ 138.50, HS: 200*
The former skipper slips in to make it an all New Zealand top three. His first Test double ton was Williamson at his very best and served as a timely reminder that he has so much more to give in this new phase of his career. After 90 Tests, with an average of a fraction under 54 – he is an absolute titan of the modern game.
2 matches, 226 runs @ 56.50, HS: 161
The Pakistan captain was sublime in the first innings of the first Test in what would be his only significant contribution with the bat across the series. The run out in the second match – his sixth in Test cricket – sucked some momentum out of the Pakistan innings. His first Test declaration was a bit of a head-scratcher.
2 matches, 234 runs @ 117, HS: 125*
His second innings rearguard in the first Test helped fend off the prospect of a New Zealand win but in the second Test, his approach – particularly in the final innings – hindered Pakistan’s pursuit of victory. Avoiding risk with a Test series defeat on the line is understandable but his strike of 21.91 when a win was possible was overly cautious.
2 matches, 335 runs @ 83.75, HS: 118
A sensational comeback for the former Pakistan captain. Years of toil in domestic cricket away from the glare of the national set-up were finally rewarded with a return and Sarfaraz repaid the faith shown in him and then some. He passed fifty every time he batted and his fourth innings century in the second Test was nearly a modern classic as his side fell just short of victory. It should be noted though that his wicketkeeping was far from flawless and given Shan Masood’s struggles, don’t be surprised if Mohammad Rizwan return to the side, takes the gloves and Sarfaraz is deployed as a specialist batter.
2 matches, 180 runs @ 45.00, HS: 45; 4 wickets @ 32.75, BBI: 3-75
Salman followed up a quiet series against England with several key contributions across these two Tests. His three-for in the second Test perhaps indicated that he should have been trusted more with the ball in the series opener – his consistency with the ball should give Pakistan more options when trying to balance the side in the future.
2 matches, 82 runs @ 27.33, HS: 74*; 8 wickets @ 39.50, BBI: 4-75
His 74 for in the second Test was hugely important. The partnership between Bracewell and Tom Blundell wrestled back the initiative from Pakistan and ensured that New Zealand had control over the game going into the fifth day. His off-spin is fast improving; and the dismissal of Sarfaraz in the dying moments of day five with a dipping off-break that spun sharply took New Zealand within a whisker of a series win.
2 matches, 6 wickets @ 35.50, BBI: 3-69
A decent first series as captain for Southee. While his side were some way off exhibiting the same kind of adventure as England did last month, they were generally proactive. His declaration in the second Test was bold and was nearly rewarded with a win. With the ball, he was the second best seamer on show across the two Tests.
2 matches, 13 wickets @ 25.13, BBI: 6-86
Perhaps the most impressive Sodhi has been for New Zealand in his 10-year Test career. At his best there are shades of Anil Kumble in his stye and he was the standout spinner across the series.
1 match, 4 wickets @ 28.50, BBI: 3-71
He’s just class, isn’t he? Still only 19, Naseem was thrilling in his sole appearance of the series. He’s fast, skilful and uses that combination to get good players out when they’re set on flat pitches. Keep him fit and Pakistan have a world beater.