There can be no excuses for the shameful defeats Pakistan suffered at the hands of the Black Caps
After the Twenty20 series, Pakistan also lost the Test series against New Zealand 2-0. After Australia and England, it was the third Test series loss for head coach Misbah-ul-Haq.
Australia whitewashed Pakistan (3-0) while England won the Test series 1-0. After being beaten in England, Misbah had claimed that the team was on the right track and would soon overcome the shortcomings noticed on the tour, especially in the bowling department.
But in three months there was no improvement in any department of the game. Batting coach Younis Khan and bowling coach Waqar Younis should also be blamed for the horrible show in New Zealand.
Batting on seaming tracks has always been a problem for Pakistani batsmen, but bowling was always a strong point. But in the pacers friendly conditions where Kiwis bowlers took Pakistani wickets quite easily, Pakistani bowlers looked toothless.
Waqar, one of the finest fast bowlers ever, has been with the team for quite some time, but he has failed to transfer his skills to Pakistani pacers.
A lot was expected from fast bowler Muhammad Abbas as New Zealand’s pitches support swing bowlers, but he failed to utilise the conditions and took only four wickets in the series at an average of 45.00.
Other pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi (6) and Naseem Shah (4) also failed to restrict Kiwi batsmen.
Pakistan also conceded 64 runs as extras, including record 17 runs as “wide” by Pakistani bowlers in an innings in a Test match.
On the other hand Kiwis bowlers utilised the conditions extremely well. Kyle Jamieson remained the most successful bowler of the series with 16 wickets at a low average of 11.68, while Trent Boult (9) and Tim Southee (6) also bowled well.
Three Pakistani pacers collectively took 14 wickets while Jamieson alone took 16 wickets. Jamieson is a bright prospect for New Zealand pace attack as in his first six Tests he has taken 36 wickets at an average of 13.27. He averages a scarcely credible 8.61 against left-handed batsmen. Out of 11 wickets he took in the second Test against Pakistan, six were of left-handers.
Pakistan lost the first Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui by 101 runs when only 4.3 overs of the game were left. Pakistan could have saved the first Test if the top order had contributed like Fawad Alam and skipper Muhammad Rizwan did.
Fawad and Rizwan with their 165 runs fifth wicket partnership almost saved the Test, but their departure opened the door for the Kiwis.
Pakistan couldn’t win the match but both players’ performance gave the fans some hope for the next Test.
But in the second Test, Kane Williamson & company outclassed the visitors in every department of the game. It was a horrible performance in batting, bowling and fielding.
The score, 659-6, is the 4th highest ever innings total scored against Pakistan in Test cricket.
It was a disappointing experience for the makeshift skipper Muhammad Rizwan. As skipper he failed in his first assignment against a tough opponent. But he remained the top scorer from Pakistan with 202 runs in the series at a great average of 50.50.
It was a nightmarish series for Pakistani opener Shaan Masood. He failed to handle Kiwi pacers’ opening spell, managed only 10 runs in four innings, averaging just 2.50. Out of four innings he was out on duck thrice. Even bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi (25) and Naseem Shah (13) scored more runs than him.
Zafar Gohar showed some batting skills on his debut with 71 runs. He was included in place of Yasir Shah to strengthen the bowling, but remained wicketless, conceded 159 runs and became the worst ever debutant bowler by Pakistan.
Haris Sohail also failed miserably with 28 runs in four innings, at an average of just 7.00.
Azahr Ali (173) and Fawad Alam (129) showed some resistance, but their performances were not enough to save Pakistan.
Faheem Ashraf could be the find of the series as an all-rounder. He scored 186 runs with one fifty, averaging 46.50, and took three wickets in the series.
This was New Zealand’s 31st innings win in Tests, four of which have come against Pakistan.
After the whitewash against Pakistan, New Zealand claimed the top position in the ICC Test rankings. It is the first occasion in the Kiwis’ cricket history when they secured the top spot.
New Zealand are on top with 118 points, Australia are second with 116 points and India third with 114 points. Pakistan slipped to seventh position with 82 points. Only West Indies, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe are behind the Green-shirts.
With the series win, New Zealand also moved to the top of the World Test Championship table with 420 points, beating India (390) and Australia (322) points.
With two Test wins against Pakistan, New Zealand extended their winning streak to record six matches. Now New Zealand have won 17 consecutive Test matches at home. The last time they lost a Test at home was against South Africa in March 2017 in Wellington.
The second Test win was the 18th successive New Zealand win against an Asian opposition at home. Their fast bowlers played a key role in their wins with over 800 Test wickets.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson remained the most successful batsman of the Test series with 388 runs in three innings at an average of 129.33 with one double hundred and a century.
Williamson got the reward of this outstanding performance as he secured the top spot in the ICC Test batsmen ranking with 890 points. He left behind Indian skipper Virat Kohli (879) and Australia’s Steven Smith (877).
In recent years, the performance of the Pakistani bowlers can be judged by the fact that they have conceded 300+ partnerships thrice in the last nine Tests.
Only 5 triple-century partnerships have been scored in Test cricket since January 2019 and shamefully three of them were against Pakistan.
Fielding was most disappointing. At least 8 chances were given by Pakistani fielders to Kiwi batsmen. In the second Test, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson got a chance when he was on just 15. Later he scored 238 runs, more than Pakistan team’s second innings total of 186.
However, New Zealand series is over; the management doesn’t have enough time for drastic changes in the team before the South Africa tour to Pakistan later this month, but now they should select the best possible team to beat the Proteas at home and boost the morale of the team and the fans.