For 1-1: Kiwis in full control with 286-run first-innings lead

Hosts face prospect of humiliating loss with two days still to go


Afp November 29, 2014

SHARJAH:


Brendon McCullum smashed a double-hundred but Kane Williamson missed out on his by just eight runs as New Zealand posted their highest ever total against Pakistan in the third and final Test in Sharjah yesterday.


McCullum hit a 188-ball 202 while Williamson made 192 as New Zealand were 637-8 at stumps on day three, hitting a world record 19 sixes to pulverise hapless Pakistan.

New Zealand now have a mammoth lead of 286 runs over Pakistan’s first innings total of 351, setting them up for a series-levelling win.

New Zealand surpassed Australia’s record of 17 sixes in a Test innings against Zimbabwe at Perth in 2003. This also becomes the highest total by New Zealand against Pakistan, beating the 563 they made at Hobart in 2003.

Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Tim Southee all made 50 each to compliment the efforts of Williamson and McCullum.

In the morning, the Kiwi skipper became one of only four batsmen to score three double-hundreds in a year and was also involved in a record second-wicket partnership of 297 for New Zealand with Williamson.

McCullum was finally bowled by Yasir Shah, much to the relief of the Pakistan bowlers who were looking for quick wickets after New Zealand resumed the day on a strong overnight score of 249-1.

But Willimson continued on and reached his hundred with a sweetly-timed on-drive to the boundary off paceman Muhammad Talha, adding 116 runs for the third wicket with Taylor.

For Pakistan, Rahat Ali took 4-89 while leg-spinner Shah finished with 3-169 but the visitors were mostly untroubled.

After the day, an emotional McCullum said his thoughts were with departed Australia batsman Phillip Hughes during the knock. “On behalf of the Blackcaps, I want to make the following statement: our focus at the moment is not on our performances, it is all about Phil [Hughes],” said McCullum. “We are heartbroken for Phil’s family; Greg, Virginia, Megan and Jason. No one should go through what you’re going through.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis believes his team can still save the Test and win the series. “The pitch is still good for batting,” said Waqar. “We will be under pressure but we have the batting to save this match.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2014.

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