ANZ sets Pakistan tough target of 280 runs in 3rd test

ABU DHABI: Henry Nicholls hit an unbeaten century as New Zealand went on a run spree Friday and set Pakistan a daunting 280-run target to win the third and final test on the last day.

Despite losing captain Kane Williamson (139) off the first ball, New Zealand scored a blistering 81 runs in the nine overs before declaring its second innings at 353-7 inside the first hour.

Nicholls remained unbeaten on 126 off 266 balls that featured 12 boundaries as the left-hander scored 36 quick runs after resuming at 90.

This gave New Zealand a hefty lead of 279 runs and a minimum of 79 overs to try and bowl out Pakistan and clinch the series.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah claimed 4 for 129 while left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi picked up 2 for 85.

Pakistan fell short by four runs when it was bowled out for 171 to lose the first test at the same venue before leveling the series with a resounding innings and 16-run win.

Pakistan got immediate success with the second new ball after New Zealand resumed at the overnight 272-3.

Fast bowler Hasan Ali had Williamson leg before wicket off the very first delivery that nipped back and hit the New Zealand skipper on the back leg.

Williamson’s marathon 212-run stand off 482 balls with Nicholls was the third best in terms of balls in the United Arab Emirates as he hit 13 fours in his 283-ball knock.

But New Zealand scored at a brisk pace with Nicholls completing his third test century off 248 balls with nine fours.

Colin de Grandhomme (26) smashed two fours and two sixes in his best knock of the series as New Zealand looked for quick runs against the fast bowlers.

Shah claimed the wickets of de Grandhomme and B.J. Watling (0) off successive deliveries but Tim Southee played a little cameo of 15 runs off 10 balls before New Zealand declared. —AP