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Former mentor says Ajaz Patel has shown great perseverance

A former mentor of New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel says his journey onto the international stage is one of perseverance.

Patel was the star on the fourth day of the Black Caps dramatic four-run win over Pakistan in the first Test in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan resumed the day on 37 for no loss, needing 139 runs for a victory to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, but suffered two separate batting collapses that resulted in a tense finish at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Pakistan were eventually dismissed for 171 in 58.4 overs as the visitors wrapped up the fifth-smallest win by runs in test history.

The 30-year-old debutant took 5 wickets for 59 runs to help the Black Caps to their closest ever win in Tests.

Former Black Cap Dipak Patel helped a young Ajaz Patel make the switch from pace bowling and he says to be able to perform at the level he did in those conditions in his test debut is impressive.

"I take my hat off to him, he came to see me about converting to spin and really to be honest with you, from the very first moment I saw him bowl spin, he was a natural."

"The thing about it he's got the ability to spin the ball and from there on it's an art and you learn and it takes a long time and I think he's reaping the rewards from that."

Ajaz Patel became the ninth New Zealander to take five wickets in an innings on debut.

After the match he admitted his achievement hadn't really sunk in.

"It's still quite surreal at the moment, it's quite hard to soak it in but I'm sure it will sink in in the next couple of hours or next couple of days but yeah definitely wouldn't have dreamt it to start any better and be in a position to win your country a game of Test cricket and to do it in that fashion is quite special."

Patel says he didn't pay any attention to the scoreboard as the Pakistanis chased their target of 176 runs.

"I never really looked at what the score was I was more focused on trying to bowl the ball in a good area consistently for long periods and it was one ball at a time.

"We kind of wanted to play that long game and stay in the game as long as possible and that only happens from one ball at a time."

The 30-year-old Central Districts spinner admits he didn't enjoy the delay when Pakistan challenged the final out.

"When they did review it [the batsman was given out lbw] I think I was on my knees just staring up at the screen hoping that it would fall the right way and when it did it was an unbelievable feeling, yeah a great rush."

Ajaz Patel and the rest of the Black Caps will line up for the second Test in Dubai starting on Saturday.
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