ABU DHABI: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah became the fastest cricketer to take 200 Test wickets, breaking an 82-year-old record as Pakistan sought to clinch a series win in the third and final Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Yasir trapped nightwatchman Will Somerville leg before for four to reach the milestone in his 33rd Test, beating Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s record of 36 Tests set against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1936.
But that was the only highlight for Pakistan as Kane Williamson (105 not out) aided by Henry Nicholls, unbeaten on 54, took New Zealand to 199-4 at tea on the fourth day.
That gave New Zealand a lead of 125 with six wickets intact and an outside chance of forcing a win in the series currently tied at 1-1.
Pakistan had hopes of an emphatic win once Shaheen Shah Afridi had Ross Taylor caught hooking for 22 with the total at 60-4. But Williamson and Nicholls defied the bowling during their unbroken 139-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Williamson, who scored 89 in the first innings, drove medium pacer Hasan Ali to cover boundary for his 12th four to complete a well deserved 12th Test century.
Nicholls survived a loud leg-before appeal off Yasir when on three, but Pakistan erred by not reviewing the not-out decision as the ball tracker showed it would have hit the leg stump.
Nicholls also successfully challenged a leg-before verdict on nine and was dropped on 50 by Imam-ul-Haq off a luckless Yasir, having so far hit five boundaries.
Yasir has figures of 2-66 while Shaheen has taken 2-48.
Resuming at 26-2, New Zealand were facing defeat as the day started with Yasir’s world record.
Yasir, whose 14 wickets helped Pakistan level the series 1-1 in Dubai, now has 27 wickets in the three Tests against New Zealand.
His 14 for 184 were the second best match figures in a Test for Pakistan, behind former captain and current prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who bagged 14 for 116 against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1982.
Yasir began the Abu Dhabi Test with 195 wickets in 32 Tests and on the opening day grabbed three early wickets. But BJ Watling resisted with 77 not out, delaying his record until the second innings.
Yasir was also the fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets (nine Tests), and reached 100 wickets in 17 Tests — second only to Englishman George Lohmann who set the record of 16 in 1896.