Cricket world up in arms after 'farcical' finish ruins Test thriller

The second Test between New Zealand and Pakistan ended in farcical scenes due to bad light, angering cricket fans.

The second cricket Test between Pakistan and New Zealand, pictured here after being ruined by bad light.
The second cricket Test between Pakistan and New Zealand was ruined by bad light. Image: PCB/AAP

Fans are once again calling for Test cricket to change with the times after a thrilling finish between Pakistan and New Zealand was ruined by bad light on Friday. The second Test between the two nations finished in a draw, with New Zealand needing one wicket and Pakistan 15 runs to win.

With Pakistan 9-304 chasing 319 for victory, both sides were on the cusp of a famous win. But the umpires were forced to take the players from the field when the light became too poor, resulting in a draw.

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Sarfaraz Ahmed defied New Zealand with a stoic century and looked like leading his side to safety until he was the ninth man out in the 87th over. But Naseem Shah and Abrar Ahmed survived 21 balls in bad light to secure a draw. It meant the series - New Zealand's first in Pakistan in 20 years - was also drawn.

“Came down to the last moments. Great end to 10 days of pretty tough toil,” New Zealand captain Tim Southee said. “We knew from the nature of the surface that things could happen late in the Test but Sarfaraz was probably the difference. We could’ve won had we got him earlier."

New Zealand took seven wickets on the final day, including that of Sarfaraz, but he stood firm for four hours and 48 minutes for his total of 118. Sarfaraz hit nine fours and a six in his first Test century since 2014 when he made 112 against New Zealand in Dubai.

“When 140 runs were left (in the final session), the management said that you need to keep trying to score when the ball is there to hit." Sarfaraz said. "If those two wickets didn’t fall then the result could’ve been something else.”

Sarfaraz and Saud Shakeel defied New Zealand for nearly three hours before Shakeel fell to a brilliant reflex catch in the slips by Daryl Mitchell early in the last session. Agha Salman was then clean bowled by Matt Henry before New Zealand struck twice with the second new ball under fading light.

However umpires asked the Kiwis to bowl spin because the light was so bad, which seemed to help Pakistan survive.

Naseem Shah, pictured here shaking hands with New Zealand players after a draw in the second Test.
Naseem Shah shakes hands with New Zealand players after a draw in the second Test. (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

Cricket world divided over farcical light rules

The controversial finish has since sparked fresh calls for Test cricket to do away with the traditional red ball and move to the pink ball for all matches. The pink ball is currently used only for day-night Tests, with the red ball used for all other matches.

The situation has also popped up during the third Test between Australia and South Africa at the SCG, with 47 overs lost on the opening day due to bad light. There were farcical scenes as the players remained off the field despite no rain falling and the floodlights on in the middle of the day.

Former South African captain AB de Villiers took to social media to question the current light rules in place in Test cricket. “Another little grey area in the rule book (in my opinion)," he wrote. "If the fielding team is told to bowl spin because of bad light and they take the option, they should be forced to finish the overs with spin until the umps call it off, cause they can bring seam on at any time to finish the match.

“If the batting team manages to get it down to 5 or so runs required, the fielding team can just opt to bring on a seamer. Not fair (in my opinion)."

with agencies

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