Yasir Shah dished out a jaw-dropping bowling display at Dubai……

Nothing, absolutely nothing could prepare the spectators for the sight that unfurled before their eyes in Dubai on day three of the second Test between Pakistan and New Zealand. After Abu Dhabi saw a humdinger on the final day, UAE’s favourite son, the 32-year old leg-spinner Yasir Shah wanted to ensure the last thing on Kiwis’ mind was a series win.

After the visitors ambled along to 50/0 post some rains that saw the outside of the Dubai International Stadium flooded, Yasir turned up before the lunch break and decided to serve dessert first at lunch. He had Jeet Raval chopping onto his stumps 21 overs after the New Zealand batsmen had started batting. But if the Kiwis felt the cream of their batting order was due to come, Yasir ensured they were made redundant in one over where he scythed through three of them – Tom Latham, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls.

Also read: Is Yasir Shah better than Abdul Qadir?

In an over that well and truly established Yasir Shah as the king of the desert, he blew the Black Caps middle-order packing. Latham fended one to short leg off the first ball of the 28th over. Ross Taylor was flummoxed by one that would have made Yasir’s childhood hero, Shane Warne, proud – the ball turning square from leg-stump to smash into the off pole. Before New Zealand could get a breather, BJ Watling, probably lazing around in the dressing room an over before, was hurriedly padding up to face the final over before lunch. Henry Nicholls was cleaned up by one that drifted away from the southpaw and then turned in.

Kane Williamson, watching the procession from the other end, would have had butterflies in his stomach as they headed for lunch and it showed in the miscommunication between Watling first over post lunch. Watling was run-out leaving New Zealand reeling at 63/5.

Yasir went on to prize out four of the remaining five wickets to fall as he finished with figures of 8/41, the third best ever by a Pakistani bowler in Test cricket. New Zealand crumbled to 90 all out with their 10 wickets falling in the space of 40 runs and 14 overs. Yasir’s spell left the Kiwis in distress and made the Pakistan first innings score of 418/5d a match-winning one.

Yasir hadn’t been at his domineering best even as he grabbed a five-fer at Abu Dhabi but in a day that reaffirmed his status in the Test side, the leg-spinner added two more wickets in New Zealand’s second innings to become the first since Anil Kumble to take 10 wickets in a day of cricket. An unbroken 65-run stand between Taylor and Latham kept Yasir at bay.

The most wickets anyone has taken in a day since World War II is the eleven by Vinoo Mankad in 1952 against Pakistan. Yasir seemed well on his way to eclipsing the Indian when he grabbed 10 in a day with more than 30 overs remaining. Bad light and New Zealand’s late resistance pegged back Yasir but it was his day to bask in.

“When I was coming to the ground I was thinking that I must get ten wickets in the match, but never thought it will come in a single day,” said Yasir. “I came from injury and didn’t get the needed rhythm against Australia (last month) but now I am getting it and very happy to achieve this feat.”

The missing rhythm was very much on display at Dubai as he spun past the edge with incredible consistency. Every ball generated ‘oohs and aaahs’ from around the wicket as the dust at Dubai danced to his wrist’s whims and fancies.

The David Warner onslaught in an over that left Yasir limping at SCG – a sequence of four successive boundaries – seemed a distant memory as the Pakistan spinner called upon his inner Abdul Qadir. From no.4 to n.11, New Zealand’s batsmen added just five runs! The indomitable Yasir mixed in a fair bit of fizz to his deadly deliveries and made life hell for the Kiwis, almost seeking revenge for their batsmen who had surrendered to Ajaz Patel on day five at Abu Dhabi.

The biggest threat as New Zealand look to survive on day four would be the threat that Yasir holds once that ball ages. As for Pakistan, they would just wait happily, sitting on a 197 run lead, for the ball to get ripe for Yasir to work his magic on it.

“I do look over those videos from YouTube quite a bit,” Yasir once said in an interview. “I look at how I went in those matches, analysing how it has gone and try to replicate my good deliveries.” New Zealand would pray like hell that he doesn’t watch too many replays of that 28th over!

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