Predictably unpredictable

December 7, 2014

Predictably unpredictable

After a wonderful all-round display in the Test series against Australia, there was a perception that Pakistan will complete another whitewash against New Zealand on their favourite UAE’s grounds and it looked easy when Pakistan beat the Kiwis in the first Test in Abu Dhabi by a huge margin of 248 runs.

But McCullum and his boys turned the table in the next two games: first, they drew the second Test at Dubai and then leveled the series in Sharjah, beating Pakistan by an innings and 80 runs.

Pakistan dropped one place to fourth position in the ICC Test rankings, while New Zealand gained one point and improved their ranking from eight to seventh.

New Zealand have a chance to progress further up the Test rankings when they host Sri Lanka in a two-Test series in December.

It was the first time since 1969-70 that Pakistan failed to beat New Zealand in a home series of at least three Tests.

In the last 11 Test matches, New Zealand have registered six wins and have suffered just two losses.

Since the Kiwis were bowled out for 45 in January 2013 by South Africa, they have gone about slowly but surely rebuilding the line-up for Test cricket.

Skipper McCullum revealed the kind of effort that was put in behind the scenes to "get the attitude right".

New Zealand’s first innings total of 690 in Sharjah was their highest ever score, beating the previous record of 680-8 in the second Test against India in February 2014.

This was also the second-highest score against Pakistan by any team.

In Sharjah, batsmen from both sides created a record by hitting 35 sixes, surpassing the previous record of 27.

In 2014, Pakistani batsmen scored 20 centuries. Before this year it had happened only once: in 2006 Pakistani players scored the same number of centuries.

When Younis Khan got out on the first ball in the second innings of the Sharjah Test, it was the 16th occasion for him to leave without scoring. Inzamam-ul-Haq, next on the list, has 14 ducks.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hit the fourth fastest double hundred in Test history on day three of the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah.

McCullum reached 200 with his 11th six off the 186th delivery he faced.

Only Nathan Astle and Virender Sehwag, twice, have made quicker double tons, with Astle holding the 153-ball record.

This double hundred of McCallum was his second of 2014 to go with a triple hundred, a trio of scores previously attained only by Sir Donald Bradman.

Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez was the leading run scorer with 418 runs in two matches with the average of 139.33. He hit two centuries and one fifty.

For New Zealand, skipper McCullum scored 347 runs, averaging 69.40.

Despite the lack of experience, leg-spinner Yasir Shah remained the most successful bowler of the Test series with 15 wickets at an average of 33.53. Mark Craig took 13 wickets at an average of 41.61.