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New Zealand win third Test to tie the rubber

Shafiq's strokes sparkling hundred

SHARJAH: New Zealand completed an innings and 80-run win over Pakistan in the third and final Test in Sharjah on Sunday despite a fighting career-best hundred by Asad Shafiq, levelling the three-match series 1-1.

Seamer Trent Boult destroyed the top order for figures of 4-38 and Mark Craig 3-109, only the third Black Caps spinner to take 10 wickets, as Pakistan were dismissed for 259 in their second innings in the fading light at Sharjah Stadium.

The win was all the more sweet for the Black Caps for at one point they were considering abandoning the Test to grieve after Phillip Hughes's tragic death on Thursday, the day when both teams suspended the second day's play.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum admitted it was tough to play. "Our thoughts were elsewhere. I am proud of the guys for sticking together," said McCullum.

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul Haq conceded the tragic news affected his team.

"After starting very well during the first day, whatever happened on day two, it was really difficult to concentrate. I was struggling to concentrate, it was really difficult to bat on and carry on."

Boult ended Shafiq's fighting 183-minute knock of 18 fours and six sixes – his fifth Test century – with a short delivery.

Craig wrapped up the innings by dismissing Rahat Ali for six to end with match figures of 10-203.

He took 7-94 in the first innings.

Boult struck three times in the space of 18 balls to leave Pakistan struggling at 24-3 before Craig and Sodhi (2-82) chipped in with their share of wickets.

Pakistan won the first Test in Abu Dhabi by 248 runs while the second ended in a draw in Dubai.

Pakistan's double batting collapse on day two and day four was inexplicable on a pitch where New Zealand plundered 690.

Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed (37) tried to take the attack to the New Zealand bowlers with a 73-run stand for the sixth wicket before Sodhi removed Ahmed and Yasir Shah (ten) in the same over before tea.

Shafiq hit Craig for a six and a four to reach his hundred off 123 balls to delay the defeat after Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez (24) and Misbah (12) in the post-lunch session.

Hafeez gave a return catch to Craig while Misbah was adjudged caught behind off the glove on the same bowler and even a referral couldn't save the Pakistan skipper.

Earlier, Boult had shaken Pakistan at the start of the innings, dismissing Shan Masood (four) in his second over, bowled Azhar Ali leaving the ball (six) in his fourth and trapped Younis Khan for a first ball duck in his fifth in a destructive spell.

Boult's devastating spell came after New Zealand extended their first innings to 690 in the morning – their highest-ever total in Test cricket.

That gave New Zealand a huge 339-run lead over Pakistan's first innings total of 351 and they pressed home their advantage quickly with Boult's strikes.

Masood drove uppishly to be caught in the slips while Ali misjudged a sharp incoming delivery which hit the off stump as he tried to leave the ball.

Boult again used the angle well from round the wicket to trap the in-form Younis leg-before. A review could not save the batsman.

New Zealand had added a further 53 earlier in the morning after resuming on 637-8, with Craig (65) becoming the sixth batsmen to reach a half-century – a record number of 50-plus scores in one innings by the Black Caps.

New Zealand's innings included a world record 22 sixes, beating the 17 struck by Australia against Zimbabwe at Perth in 2003.

In all, a world record 35 sixes were hit in the match, beating the 27 shared by Pakistan and India in Faisalabad in 2006.

Pakistan's much-vaunted bowling attack suffered badly, with pacer Rahat Ali taking 4-99 and leg-spinner Yasir Shah conceding 193 runs for his quartet of wickets.

New Zealand's previous highest Test total of 680-8 came against India in Wellington in February this year.

Both teams now play two Twenty20 internationals in Dubai on December 4 and 5 which will be followed by five one-day matches starting from Dec. 8.