1st Test: Sodhi’s best in vain as Pakistan salvage draw against New Zealand | Cricket News

KARACHI: Pakistan avoided a fifth consecutive defeat at home with a hard-fought draw in the first Test in Karachi on Friday despite the New Zealand leg spinner’s career-best bowling figures Ich Sodhi.
Sodhi grabbed 6-86 and threatened to give New Zealand the win in the first two sessions of the fifth and final day, but Pakistan fought back before declaring their second set at 311-8.
It gave New Zealand a tough 138 target to win from 15 overs, and the chase ended in waning light at 61-1, with Tom Latham unbeaten on 35 and Devon Conway 18.
Michael Bracewell was the only wicket to fall for three.
Sodhi was the star as he bettered his previous record of 4-60 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo four years ago.
The 30-year-old, playing his first Test in four years, turned the game in New Zealand’s favor with three wickets in the second session to leave Pakistan 249-7 at tea with 35 overs remaining in the game.
But Saud Shakeel, who finished with 55 steps out, and Mohammad Wasim (43) challenged for 75 minutes and 111 balls in their eighth wicket from 71 runs to deprive New Zealand of a win.
Shortly after tea, Sodhi trapped Wasim’s front leg, but Mir Hamza (three steps) helped Shakeel into an unbroken stand at the ninth wicket of 34 runs in 50 minutes to further frustrate the visitors.
Shakeel, who hit seven limits and a six, continued after battling Imam-ul-Haq’s shots (96) and Ahmed Sarfaraz (53) in the first two sessions.
In the afternoon session, Sodhi brushed aside Sarfaraz, Agha Salman (six) and Haq in the space of 27 balls for the addition of just 21 points.
Haq and Sarfaraz had added a defiant 85 runs for the fifth wicket and raised hopes of salvaging a draw for the home side before Sodhi struck.
He got Sarfaraz behind him, knocked Salman down, then forced Haq out of Pakistan 206-7.
Haq, who survived the bowler’s lbw dismissals on 58 and 74, broke 10 boundaries and a six in his sixth half, while Sarfaraz had seven hits at the rope.
So furious as he was by his dismissal, Haq smashed a chair with his bat on his way to the locker room.
Picking up 77-2, Pakistan lost early night watchman Nauman Ali to a leg-forward trap by spinner Bracewell.
then captain Babar Azam – who scored 161 in Pakistan’s 438 opening innings – was similarly against Sodhi for 14.
The second test begins at the same location on Monday.


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