Dubai - Pakistan salvaged a draw in the second Test against New Zealand in Dubai on Friday after being set a challenging target of 261 off 72 overs on the back of a brilliant hundred by Ross Taylor.
The early loss of four Pakistani wickets meant all results were possible come tea but in the end Pakistan finished 65 runs short of victory when bad light ended play five overs before the scheduled close.
Asad Shafiq scored 41 not out and Sarfraz Ahmed an unbeaten 24 as Pakistan finished on 196 for five, with the draw preserving their 1-0 lead in the three-match series following last week's 248-run win Abu Dhabi.
It was an exciting finish before an 8 000 holiday crowd who anticipated a Pakistan win after New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had sportingly declared his side's second innings on 250 for nine.
That was made possible after Taylor notched a brilliant 104 for his 12th Test century.
"Credit to New Zealand," said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. "They showed a lot of improvement after the first game.
"I'm a little bit disappointed because had we taken our chances we could have had a better result.
"We had planned the chase, to bat normally in the first 40 overs and then step up, but we lost three quick wickets and then Younis (Khan) got out so it became tough."
McCullum praised New Zealand's resolve, saying: "Obviously it was a very very good Test match. t was a great effort and I think the toss was really important and we managed to put on a good total (403 after he elected to bat) and that really lifted us. I am proud of the boys."- Precarious position -
Younis (44) and Shafiq lifted Pakistan from a precarious 75 for four after Trent Boult had dismissed Shan Masood (40) and skipper Misbah-ul Haq (nought) in his successive overs.
Pakistan, needing 130 in the last 20 overs, picked up the tempo with Shafiq hitting two boundaries off Mark Craig but the off-spinner derailed the chase when he dismissed Younis with a turning, rising delivery that took the edge and was well held at slip by Taylor.
Younis hit three sixes and two boundaries in his 84-ball knock.
Boult finished with miserly figures figures of two for 12 in 10 overs while Craig took two for 66 in 17.
Pakistan had lost opener Taufeeq Umar for four in the second over to Tim Southee before Masood and Azhar Ali (24) put on a solid 62 for the second wicket.
Ali then hit a Craig full toss straight into the hands of covers before Boult trapped Masood leg-before and had Misbah caught behind off a beautiful delivery.
Masood was shaping well during his 95-ball knock, hitting two sixes and a boundary.
Earlier, Taylor anchored the New Zealand innings.
Taylor, who had just 31 runs in three previous innings this series, batted with authority during a 200-minute stay at the crease studded with 12 boundaries.
New Zealand, resuming on 167 for six, looked for quick runs which came once Taylor reached his hundred with a single off seamer Ehsan Adil. It took him 129 balls to reach the three-figure mark.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who finished with his first five-wicket haul for figures of five for 79, removed Taylor and Craig (34) in the same over.
Craig holed out in the deep, while Taylor was beaten by a sharp turning delivery and was smartly stumped by Sarfraz.
Southee hit Zulfiqar Babar (four for 96) for three towering sixes before he was caught in the covers ahead of McCullum's declaration.
The third and final Test starts in Sharjah on November 26.