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Pakistan beat Black Sticks in third Test

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/03/2017
Black Sticks supporters show their team colours in Tauranga. © SNPA/Bethelle McFedries Black Sticks supporters show their team colours in Tauranga.

Pakistan drag flicker Abu Mahmood has hustled the tourists to a 4-2 win over the Black Sticks and left the five-Test series evenly poised.

Mahmood bagged a hat-trick in the third Test in Wellington, squaring the series 1-1 heading into matches in Clareville in the Wairarapa.

New Zealand won the first Test 3-2 before the second was drawn 2-2.

The goals continued to flow on Monday but it was New Zealand's defence which failed to respond as Pakistan played with a raised intensity, forcing a glut of penalty corner attempts.

Holding a 1-0 lead at halftime, Pakistan charged ahead with Mahmood delivering three second-half flicks from the set piece.

The hosts scored in the 45th minute through their own penalty corner flick, to Cory Bennett, while their second goal was a consolation effort on fulltime - a slick reverse-stick effort from Stephen Jenness.

Coach Darren Smith says the result is disappointing but there were plenty of important lessons for his young side.

"We started pretty well but got caught in the second and third quarters. Pakistan's basic skills were very good and they scored some nice corners," he said.

"At time we found it hard to find our passes and structure and were ineffective going forward but when we were down we actually played some really good hockey."

Smith said the remaining Tests on Wednesday and Thursday would be a Test of his players' ability to respond to pressure.

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