We know this Pakistan series will be tough, but let’s grab some hope by looking back at one of the most extraordinary tests ever played between the two sides. It was played in Pakistan, and when New Zealand was its most dishevelled.
It is Lahore; November 1996. The first test of the Steve Rixon era, and the visitors had a pretty makeshift look about them. Justin Vaughan doubled as stand-in opener and third seamer, Chris Harris played, and Greatbatch was batting at number six. It was in Pakistan and there was one spinner playing, and that was Dipak Patel.
New Zealand won the toss and batted first. However, at 117/9 it probably wasn’t what they had in mind. A bit of Doull and Patel (batting at #10 here) guts magic meant that the final score was 155. By stumps Pakistan was 52/5 in reply, and Doull had 4 wickets.
Naturally the hosts fought back on the second day, and naturally obdurate keeper Moin Khan led the charge. But New Zealand’s hero there was the unlikely figure of Justin Vaughan who pricked away at the batsmen like cactus thorns to end up with 4-27/ Pakistan took a 36 run lead.
Early wickets on the third day reduced the tourists to 102/5, and in not in a great state. But 93 at better than a run a ball from Cairns ensured there would be a chase of some kind. But when the ninth wicket fell New Zealand was still only 227 ahead. But Doull was having none of this (26 off 17) and another important last wicket partnership developed, and Pakistan needed 276 for victory.
Fleming was left stranded eight runs short of what was proving to be an elusive maiden test century.
Once again the new ball did the damage at the top of the order and Pakistan would go to stumps at 46/5.
Mohammad Wasim on debut would then scare New Zealand in scoring one of only two test centuries he would end up to his name, and things started to get really tight.
In the end it was Patel (4/36) who would calm the nerves and spin New Zealand to victory in the fourth innings.
New Zealand won by 44 runs. How those Simon Doull runs would end up being so significant in what was really quite a strange test.