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

Pakistan’s Azhar Ali, front, walks from the pitch after dismissed by New Zealand’s Colin de Grandhomme in their test match in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — New Zealand took out Pakistan’s top order after setting up a daunting 280-run target on the last day of the third and final cricket test on Friday.

Pakistan was 55-5 at lunch and was in danger of losing only its second test series in the United Arab Emirates in the last 10 years.

Seamers Tim Southee and Colin de Grandhomme reduced Pakistan to 32-2 by dismissing Mohammad Hafeez (8) and Azhar Ali (5).

Pakistan needed to bat out a further 58.2 overs to deny New Zealand its rare series win in Asia.

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 at Dubai.

Earlier, Henry Nicholls hit an unbeaten century as New Zealand went on a run spree 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 for an overall lead of 279 runs.

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

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

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