With just one wicket remaining, Pakistan held New Zealand to a tight draw because to Sarfaraz Ahmed’s superb century under pressure.
After Pakistan were down to 80/5 in the first session on the final day while chasing a goal of 319 runs, Sarfaraz orchestrated a spectacular comeback of the sinking ship by playing a memorable knock of 176 balls to navigate Pakistan out of the crisis.
In their last over, Pakistan reached 304-9 with seamer Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed at the crease when play was called off owing to poor lighting.
The wicketkeeper batsman had a successful return to the national Test team after four years away, finishing as the series’ highest run-scorer with 335 runs (three straight fifties in the first three innings, and a century to round off the campaign in style).
Starting the pivotal day at 0/2, Pakistan were further shaken by the New Zealand bowler, who took three key wickets in the morning session. However, the game changed thanks to a remarkable partnership of 123 runs between Sarfaraz and Saud for the sixth wicket.
While Sarafarz went on the offensive, Saud put up a formidable barrier, and the two completely overpowered the New Zealand bowlers in the second session.
Before Michael Bracewell took the important wicket of Saud, who played a brave innings of 146 deliveries, Pakistan seemed to be in perfect control of the game with just 117 left to chase.
Next, Sarfaraz teamed up with Salman Ali Agha, who got 30 runs before being bowled by Matt Henry for an attempted six. Together, they pushed the total to 70.
Three quick wickets, including Salman’s, gave New Zealand a chance to win the game in the last hour, but Pakistan’s seamers held on for 21 balls, preventing the series defeat.
After Salman was out of the game, Hasan Ali batted for just 10 balls before being caught by Ish Sodhi, and Sarfaraz was run out by a leg side delivery from Bracewell and walked off the field as the sun went down.
New Zealand’s bowlers took key early wickets to help put Pakistan in a precarious position, but Saud and Sarfaraz were able to repeat their performance from two days earlier, when they pounded a strong 150-run stand in the first innings.
Imam, the overnight hitter, and Shan put up 35 runs before Ish Sodhi, the first wicket of the day for New Zealand, caught Imam lbw for 12 as he was going down the track but missed a crisp turning ball.
Babar, the team’s captain, batted 27 out of 41 before being dismissed by an inside edge down the leg side from Bracewell.
Shan lofted the length ball, and Kane Williamson took it easily at mid-off. This was the Legspinner’s third blow of the session.