New Zealand's new Test captain Tim Southee has defended his tactics after the Black Caps failed to force victory in the opening Test against Pakistan and had to settle for a draw despite taking a strong position in the match.
New Zealand were unable to bowl out Pakistan on the fifth and final day of the match after getting Imam-ul-Haq, who rescued the hosts from a difficult position with help from wicketkeeper-batter Sarfaraz Ahmed (53), out with the hosts leading by just 30 runs and with just three wickets in hand.
Saud Shakeel (55 not out) and No. 9 batter Mohammad Wasim (43) raised 71 runs for the eighth wicket and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam made a sudden declaration to set New Zealand a target of 138 runs.
The visitors eventually could manage to reach 61/1 in 23 overs as bad light forced an early end to the match. After the match, Southee was asked whether he regretted declaring New Zealand's first innings at 612-9 after his predecessor Kane Williamson brought up his fifth Test double-hundred on the fourth day.
"I guess in hindsight you've got that, but I think we gave ourselves four sessions to bowl Pakistan out and chase down whatever we needed to," Southee said. "Kane played extremely well alongside Ish to get us into a position where we could declare.
There wasn't a lot of assistance in the surface for a long time throughout this test match and for us to get into a position after losing the toss, to push for a win I guess we played some great cricket to get to that position."
New Zealand also dropped a few chances, especially the chance missed by spinner Ajaz Patel, who could not hold a throw from Nehry Nicholls and effect the round out of Mir Hamza during the final session.
Pakistan were 280/8 in the 95th over with the lead at 106. "I wouldn't say chances slipped away. We had to hang in and take chances. To have lost the toss and have had a chance was pleasing.
Late in the third innings, they played nicely. There was a bit of assistance if bowled in the right areas," Southee said after the match. "I guess we got ourselves in a position to have won this test match," the New Zealand skipper acknowledged.
"But Pakistan showed some resistance today and especially in their lower order. The position we got into, it would have been nice to have pushed on and got a win but it's been a pretty tough five days and there's a lot of positives we can take out of it," he was quoted as saying by stuff.com.au. The second Test starts at the same venue on Monday.