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Fantastic Sarfaraz ton not enough as bad light has final say in Karachi Test thriller

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An epic fourth-innings century to cap off a dream comeback series. The set batter getting severe cramps, and also running out of partners. Artificial light taking over. A late wicket just after the second new ball. Eight down. Nervous expressions in the crowd. The light meter in business. Only spinners allowed to bowl. A good low catch at a crucial moment. Nine down. The umpire asking the last two batters to hurry up. In the end, it was all for nothing, as a thrilling Test ended in a draw with New Zealand one wicket away, and Pakistan 15 short of their target of 319.

Sarfaraz Ahmed hit a career-best 118, Michael Bracewell grabbed four wickets, and the Pakistan lower order came to their rescue in a nail-biting finish in Karachi. The series ended 0-0, as Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed saw off the last 21 balls of the final evening to leave New Zealand wondering.

The match kept turning and twisting in the final two sessions of the fifth day. Pakistan were 80 for 5 at one stage, with momentum in New Zealand’s favour; just then, Sarfaraz and Saud Shakeel blunted them with a 123-run stand. And when Pakistan seemed to have taken one step towards the win, Bracewell got Shakeel. He was the sixth wicket to fall with the score on 203. That is when Sarfaraz and Agha Salman added 70 to drag their side back, only for it to end with an across-the-line hoick off Matt Henry. Sarfaraz lost Salman and Hasan Ali and eventually himself as well as the pendulum kept swinging.

Chief scores:

New Zealand 449 (Conway 122, Latham 71, Abrar 4-149) and 277 for 5 dec (Bracewell 74*, Blundell 74, Hamza 1-38) drew with Pakistan 408 (Shakeel 125*, Imam 83, Ajaz 3-88) and 304 for 9 (Sarfaraz 118, Masood 35, Bracewell 4-75) (Cricinfo)


Saturday, January 7, 2023 – 01:00

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