Test cricket is back in Pakistan and the fans in the country are over cloud nine due to the development. The nearly-full stadium on Saturday and Sunday showed how much the cricketing fans of the country were missing the game in Karachi and in the country.
The icing on the cake however was the 1-0 series win where Pakistan beat the visiting Islanders by 263 runs to bag a massive win and in the process lift the silverware on home soil after more than 10 years.
The second Test also proved to be an entertaining encounter with twists and turns which assured that the fans stayed in the ground and everyone was stuck to the TV to see what will happen next.
Pakistan won the Test courtesy some great bowling and batting displays in the second match at the National Stadium of Karachi, and here the three things that Azhar Ali and co did right.
1. Batting showed fight
Pakistani batting line-up, the perennial pariah for the Men in Green, was once again seen dwindling when Azhar opted to bat first on Thursday.
The hosts were unable to cross the 200-run mark even, with only 191 on the board and that too courtesy some responsible batting by ever-reliant Babar Azam (60) and veteran batsman Asad Shafiq (63).
Sri Lanka then scored 271, bagging an 80-run lead but Pakistani batting, after a very long time showed grit and performed when the team needed it the most.
These centuries, especially for Shan and Azhar, will help Pakistan top-order’s confidence a lot as they go forward.
2. Centuries help confidence
The second innings saw Pakistani batsmen scoring four centuries as the whole top order contributed runs to the total.
Opener Abid Ali (174) and Shan Masood (135) broke many records with their 278-run stand, while captain Azhar, who has been failing on again and again to inspire the team, finally came to the party with 175-ball 118.
Tests in Pakistan boost long-format’s revival
Babar was the usual suspect in the century-makers list with his 100 coming off 131 balls.
The four batsmen saw Pakistan to 555-3 before Pakistan declared the innings.
3. Naseem, Shaheen click at the right time
Naseem Shah’s pace in unmatched at the moment and Pakistan, when the Sri Lankan tail was exposed during the visitors second innings on day five, Azhar gave the ball to him to finish the proceedings.
Earlier on day four, the express pacer was also seen clocking 140kmph regularly in order to bag three wickets and take the match towards last day with Pakistan firmly poised for a victory.
Shaheen’s five-for in the first innings meanwhile was also much-needed as Pakistan needed to restrict the Islanders on as low a score as possible.
Both will be happy to have their names written on the honours board the NSK and more than that they will take the confidence forward when other teams come calling.
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