ABU DHABI: Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah became the fastest cricketer to take 200 Test wickets on Thursday, breaking an 82-year-old record and putting Pakistan within sight of a series win in the third and final Test against New Zealand.
The 32-year-old trapped nightwatchman Will Somerville leg before for four — his second wicket of New Zealand’s second innings — 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.
Yasir’s strike left New Zealand fighting to save both the match in Abu Dhabi, and the series — currently tied at 1-1 — as they reached 112-4 at lunch on the fourth day.
Skipper Kane Williamson was batting on a pugnacious 55 for his 29th fifty — and second in the match — and with him Henry Nicholls unbeaten on a chancy 20, as New Zealand led by 36 runs with six wickets intact.
The two have added 52 runs for the fifth wicket but Nicholls was lucky to overturn a leg-before decision off Yasir on nine, and survived two other appeals.
Resuming at 26-2, New Zealand also lost Ross Taylor who cracked three of his four boundaries in one over from paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi before finally hooking the same bowler into the hands of Bilal Asif for 22.
But 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.
Since taking seven wickets on debut against Australia in 2014, Yasir has been a key figure in Pakistan’s Test team.
He took 12 wickets in that 2-0 series win over Australia in United Arab Emirates and followed with 15 against New Zealand in a 1-1 draw the same year.
That was followed by 24 wickets against Sri Lanka in 2015 and 10 in a match to beat England at Lord’s a year later. He took 21 and 25 wickets respectively in series wins over the West Indies.
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.