As Pakistani batsmen walked out of the pavilion for the final session of the Hamilton test, it seemed that team was destined to play out a draw – an unlikely result considering the previous day’s situation. With 9 wickets remaining and run a ball required, the stage was set for an even unlikelier victory. As it happened, the rest of the team collapsed in spectacular fashion under sustained bowling by New Zealand – handing them their second victory in the last three test series, and their first series win against Pakistan in 30 years.

This is the same team that a few short months ago walked triumphantly out into the English sunshine, draped with the Pakistani flag, taking a round of the stadium to applause. The same team that walked out of England holding on to the number 1 ranking in tests, with the glittering mace given to the skipper of the top team, Misbah-ul-Haq. There was a real sense of unity, effort and potential in the squad; Pakistan was the team to beat.

Now it has slumped to number 4, with one test to go in the series. More troubling than the ranking is the performance by the team, which echoed the feeble sides of the last decade, not the “revitalised” and “formidable” side this one was made out to be. The England tour was a fantastic performance, but it is clear that the perch on the number 1 spot was short-lived – more work needs to be done.

This is especially true for the batting, which faces another stiff test in the upcoming series in Australia, whose swinging and seaming pitches have terrorised many teams. Pakistan has generally fared poorly when traveling down under, and unless this side can conjure up some some batting spine, this trend will continue. This present bunch has shown a lot of character against tough odds in foreign lands, let’s hope it can do so again.