In spite of the fact that New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi had his best bowling numbers of his career, Pakistan was able to avoid a home loss for the fifth game in a row by fighting to a draw in the first test match on Friday in Karachi.
Sodhi took six wickets for eighty-six runs and came close to giving New Zealand the win in the first two sessions of the fifth and final day, but Pakistan battled on and declared their second innings when they had 311 runs left on the board.
That left New Zealand with a difficult goal of 138 to win in 15 overs, and their chase came to an end with the light beginning to fade on 61-1, with Tom Latham and Devon Conway both remaining unbeaten on their respective scores.
The only wicket to fall in the third and final innings was that of Michael Bracewell.
Sodhi was the standout performer as he surpassed his previous high score of 4-60, which he had achieved four years ago against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
After taking three wickets in the second session, the 30-year-old, who was playing his first Test in four years, swung the contest in favour of New Zealand. Pakistan was left on 249-7 when tea was taken, and there were still 35 overs remaining to play in the match.
In contrast, Saud Shakeel, who finished with 55 not out, and Mohammad Wasim, who scored 43, defied for 75 minutes and 111 balls during their 71-run eighth wicket stand to prevent New Zealand from achieving victory.
Soon after tea, Sodhi took out Wasim by catching him leg-before, but Mir Hamza (three not out) and Shakeel put up an unbroken stand for the ninth wicket that scored 34 runs in 50 minutes to further irritate the visitors.
Shakeel, who smashed seven boundaries and a six, built on after suffering battling blows from Imam-ul-Haq (96) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (53), respectively, in the first two periods of the match.
In the session that took place after lunch, Sodhi was successful in bowling out Sarfaraz, Agha Salman (six), and Haq in the span of 27 balls, resulting in the addition of only 21 runs.
Before Sodhi struck, Haq and Sarfaraz had added a courageous 85 runs for the fifth wicket, which boosted expectations that the home team may salvage at least a draw out of the situation.
He bowled Sarfaraz, had Salman caught behind, and then got Haq stumped, bringing Pakistan’s score to 206-7 at the time.
Haq, who was given lbw referrals from the bowler on both 58 and 74, made his sixth half-century by smashing 10 boundaries and a six, while Sarfaraz had seven knocks to the rope during his innings.
Haq destroyed a chair with his bat on the way to the locker room because he was so enraged by the fact that he had been removed from the game.
Pakistan resumed their innings on 77-2 and quickly suffered a loss when spinner Bracewell trapped nightwatchman Nauman Ali leg-before.
Then the captain, Babar Azam, who had scored 161 in Pakistan’s first innings of 438, went out to Sodhi for 14 after being run out in the same manner.
On Monday, play will begin for the second test match at the same location.