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Vettori Rues Rain

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Daniel Vettori
Daniel Vettori

By Chris Barclay of NZPA

Napier, Dec 15 NZPA - Mohammad Yousuf looked to the grey skies and praised Allah, but a downcast Daniel Vettori cursed the weather gods as the third and final cricket test between New Zealand and Pakistan was condemned to a watery grave at McLean Park today.

The rival captains expressed their relief and disappointment after the final session of a potentially knife-edged climax was ruined by persistent showers.

New Zealand was 118 short of winning the test and series when play was abandoned with 24 overs remaining. They had to maintain a reasonable run-rate of 4.91 -- and had all 10 wickets in the bank.

Yousuf admitted Pakistan were fortunate the weather closed in.

"We were lucky. Allah helped us because of rain, otherwise it would be difficult to defend (208) on this track.

"It's disappointing for them, not for us. We are lucky," he said.

Vettori agreed. "We were denied an opportunity this afternoon so we look back on that with a bit of disappointment," he said.

"I am pleased we fought long and hard enough to give ourselves a chance."

New Zealand collected the six remaining Pakistani wickets by the middle session and originally had 43 overs to source the runs.

BJ Watling and Tim McIntosh produced 90 off 19 over, with the debutant Watling's unbeaten 60 from 62 balls earning praise from the skipper.

"The way BJ and Tim Mac had set us up, if it had continued we had a good chance of winning," he said.

"I was particularly impressed with BJ dictating play and momentum in his first test."

New Zealand won the series opener in Dunedin by 32 runs, Pakistan won the rematch in Wellington by 141 but were on the back foot here.

"It was a pretty competitive series," Vettori said.

"The first test, both teams had a chance. We were outplayed in the second and had momentum in our favour here.

"I think both teams are similar," added Yousuf, noting New Zealand had the benefit of home advantage.

Pakistan, unable to host series due to security fears, had to relocate here. They return next summer for New Zealand's home series.

Vettori hopes his batting unit will be firing by then.

"I was happy with a number of aspects but looking back on the first innings at Wellington (99), that was what let us down.

"A couple of guys stood up over the over course of this test -- Tim (McIntosh) in first innings (74), BJ in second.

"We have to look at our batting as a collective so we know there are still areas of concern.

"Our seam bowlers were fantastic throughout the series, you couldn't really ask too much more, but like always we've just got a little more to work on with our batting."

Yousuf said Pakistan's inadequate first innings of 223 placed them on the defensive and echoed Vettori's concerns about batting before the team head to Australia for three tests and a one-day series.

"The bowlers bowled hard, bowled well but I think we threw away our wickets on this track. It was lovely for batting."

 

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