Home > News >

Azhar Ali fashions a thrilling win for Pakistan against Sri Lanka to level series 1-1

Azhar Ali scored the most fabulous ton to ensure Pakistan register a thrilling win against Sri Lanka in the third and final Test © AFP
Azhar Ali scored the most fabulous ton to ensure Pakistan register a thrilling win against Sri Lanka in the third and final Test © AFP

Jan 20, 2014

Pakistan pulled of a sensational win courtesy of Azhar Ali’s hundred against Sri Lanka in the third and final Test match at Sharjah to level the series 1-1.

Having set a daunting 302 to win from 59 overs, Sri Lanka looked all set to wrap a Test series win away from  home.

The writing was on the wall when Pakistan lost openers Khurram Manzoor and Ahmed Shehzad—both perishing while trying to accelerate the proceedings and pacer Suranga Lakmal was on song.

The rookie Sri Lankan pacers have given a very good account of themselves in this series so far; bowling a tidy line and getting wickets at regular intervals. The absence of a rejuvenated Nuwan Pradeep, however did hurt the Island nation badly in this encounter at Sharjah.

Pakistan’s number three, Azhar Ali, another comeback man went about piercing the field in his typical nonchalance that had the purists in ecstasy when he broke in the Test scene four years ago while elder statesman Younis Khan laboured to 29 before holding out Kumar Sangakkara off the bowling of Angelo Mathews. At the moment, the Sri Lankan Captain can’t put a foot wrong even if he wanted to.

Heading to lunch at 107 for three, it looked certain that the Sri Lankans had done enough to coast to a series win. The stand-by keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, with his strokemaking abilities instilled a new sense of belief in the Pakistan ranks that the warn-torn nation could well go on to win the game. The ever reliable Rangana Herath was mauled in this outing and from a near improbable position, Pakistan jumped right back in the battle and a chase was definitely on.

After a blistering 48, the fearless Ahmed was caught behind off the bowling of Shaminda Eranga.

This brought Pakistan’s classy sipper and go-to man for all seasons and formats, Misbah-ul-Haq at the crease. With minimal risks he rotated the strike with Azhar to ensure that Pakistan didn’t fall behind the asking run rate and at the same time the ensured that their application at the crease, that has epitomised their careers so far, was intact.

The boundaries were few and far between but the ease at which the Pakistan duo went about with their business started to spread panic in the Sri Lankan ranks. Misbah had breezed to a half-century with just three boundaries and Azhar Ali was in no mood to let go, looking set for a big score.

Azhar soon brought up his hundred but soon perished with less than ten runs needed. It was a moment which defined Pakistan’s urge to win the match as Ali charged off to the pavillion, so as to ensure Pakistan do not lose much time.

Defensive fields and the bowling looking a pale shadow of the spunk that they had shown in the first two Tests, Sri Lanka certainly did not see this coming and in a way created their own downfall.

It certainly was a topsy-turvy swing in fortunes, the unreliable Pakistan top order rallied to chase a total that was more than five runs per over, a first in Test match history and the otherwise reliable Rangana Herath torn to smithereens and ending wicketless. Certainly a one of a kind run chase indeed.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 428 for 9 decl. (Kumar Sangakkara 52, Angelo Mathews 91, Dilruwan Perera 95; Junaid Khan 3 for 81, Mohammad Talha 3 for 99) and 214 (Mahela Jayawardene 46, Prasanna Jayawardene 49; Abdur Rehman 4 for 56, Saeed Ajmal 3 for 53, Mohammad Talha 3 for 65) lost to Pakistan 341 (Ahmed Shehzad 147, Misbah-ul-Haq 63; Rangana Herath 5 for 125, Shaminda Eranga 4 for 60) and 302 for 5 (Azhar Ali 103, Sarfaraz Ahmed 48, Misbah-ul-Haq 68*; Suranga Lakmal 3 for 79) by five wickets.

Full Scorecard

Photo Gallery

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 20, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at St George's, Grenada

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 21, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Bulawayo

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at St George's, Grenada

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 23, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Hambantota

India tour of England 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Bristol

More

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 19, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 61 runs

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 17, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 93 runs

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014  at London

England won by an innings and 244 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 105 runs

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 9 wkts

Photos

Highlights of Mahela Jayawardene’s Test career

Videos

Hughes explains technique behind cut shot

Will Duncan Fletcher exit, or will he hang on and risk getting sacked?

13 reasons for BCCI appointing Ravi Shastri to oversee India’s ODI team

Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun, R Sridhar: New faces in the Team India management

England squad for ODIs against India: Rejuvenated England search for right balance in squad

MS Dhoni’s momentary outburst about IPL – what does it signify?

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014

West Indies part ways with coach Ottis Gibson ahead of Bangladesh series

Ravi Shastri: I’m eager to find what went wrong with India after Lord’s

Sachin Tendulkar floored me with his knowledge of football, says IM Vijayan

Ravi Bopara shocked after being excluded from England’s ODI side

Michael Clarke insists tri-series in Zimbabwe not ‘token tour’

Will Duncan Fletcher exit, or will he hang on and risk getting sacked?

Bangladesh tour of West Indies 2014: Visitors need teamwork to produce noticeable performance

India’s coaching saga: Need stable options leading up to the ICC World Cup 2015

Ravi Shastri’s appointment could be the last straw for Duncan Fletcher

Michael Vaughan and his Twitter misdemeanours

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

659 Posts | 6 Fans

India tour of England 2014: Sunil Gavaskar says Indian batsmen did not learn anything

Central African Republic will have 7,600 United Nations peacekeepers

Ebola in India: Kolkata’s sex workers asked to refuse African customers

Israeli strike kills wife, child of Gaza military chief: Hamas

YouTube is down [update: it is back up]

“I bleed Microsoft”: Steve Ballmer steps down from Microsoft’s board

Sachin Tendulkar floored me with his knowledge of football, says IM Vijayan

Ebola in India: Three Nigerians admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital

Phil Hughes explains technique behind cut shot

Varun Dhawan looks sexier in a stubble than Ranbir Kapoor, think fans!

Have you seen Ranbir Kapoor’s wacky new TV commercial? Watch video!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here