Comeback hero Sarfaraz Ahmed rated his fourth innings hundred in Karachi on day five of the second Test against New Zealand his “best”.
Away from Test cricket for three years, 35-year-old Sarfaraz made a successful comeback in the Test series against New Zealand, smashing four successive fifty-plus scores, including his first Test century in nine years on the final day of the series.
Hailing it as his “best” knock, Sarfaraz described the ton as a special one.
“This was a fourth-innings hundred and in the fourth innings, it is not easy to bat anywhere in the world,” Sarfaraz said. “So I think this is my best hundred.”
The former Pakistan skipper had hit three Test centuries in 2014, but hasn’t made another since in nine years. He had returned to the Test XI after three years earlier in the series and walked away with the Player of the Series award.
His most compelling knock came on day five of the second Test, where Pakistan had their backs against the wall early with New Zealand reducing them to 80/5.
“My state of mind wasn’t very good when I came to bat the first time. I was very tense, there was a lot of nerves,” he said. “But the captain [Babar Azam] gave me a lot of confidence and the boys in the team gave me a lot of confidence.
“I backed my form from domestic cricket and had a good performance.”
With Mohammad Rizwan in good form, Sarfaraz had missed out on Test cricket since 2019 before making a resounding comeback this series. While he was mostly with the squad as the backup wicketkeeper, a place in the starting XI never quite came his way.
“I have been there with the team for four years and unfortunately I did not get a chance but whatever cricket came my way, my effort was to keep playing my game,” he said.
Friday saw dramatic scenes in Karachi as the game ended in a thrilling draw. Michael Bracewell sent back Sarfaraz late in the day as the ninth wicket putting the visitors were on the cusp of a famous win.
Pakistan too were in the game until the end, finishing 15 runs away when bad light called off play.