Third Test: Azhar, Misbah clinch memorable win in Sharjah

Published: January 20, 2014
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Misbahul Haq, Azhar Ali help Pakistan accomplish their second highest Test run chase and level the series 1-1 with Sri Lanka. PHOTOS: AFP

Misbahul Haq, Azhar Ali help Pakistan accomplish their second highest Test run chase and level the series 1-1 with Sri Lanka. PHOTOS: AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan chased down a target of 302 runs in the last two sessions to clinch a thrilling five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka, and level the three-match series 1-1 to avoid an embarrassing series defeat. 

It was an intriguing last day of the final Test in Sharjah that saw the visitors slumping from a good position to a loss, following heroics by middle-order batsman Azhar Ali.

Sri Lanka, despite a batting collapse on the day, managed to post a challenging target of 302 runs for the final two sessions for the hosts who needed to score over five runs per over.

Not many expected a successful run-chase but Pakistan made it happen with an aggressive display of batting.

Azhar who was struggling for runs found form at the right time and scored 103 runs to anchor the run-chase. He was involved in important partnerships with wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed and his captain Misbahul Haq after Pakistan lost three wickets for 97 runs.

Sarfraz chipped in with an impressive 48 from 46 deliveries to help in an 80-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

Misbah who struck half-century in the first innings continued with his form and scored an unbeaten 67, including the winning shot. The skipper combined with Azhar to post vital 109 runs for the sixth wicket.

The win will also be a befitting sendoff for coach Dav Whatmore, whose contract is set to expire in February.

Starting the run-chase, Khurram Manzoor and Ahmed Shahzad made 35 for the opening wicket in 6.3 overs before the latter fell on 21. Manzoor was also dismissed on 21 while Younus Khan’s (29) dismissal reduced Pakistan to 97 for three.

Earlier needing just a draw to win series, Sri Lanka took the field on final day with a lead of 220 runs with a score of 133 for five. However, the tourists could add 81 more runs as they were bowled out for 214.

They started the day well with overnight duo captain Angelo Matthews and Prasanna Jayawardene making 62 runs for the sixth wicket partnership, taking overall lead to 276.

However, Matthews dismissal off fast bowler Mohammad Talha sparked a collapse that saw the visitors losing their last six wickets for just 25 runs.

Abdur Rehman (4-56), Saeed Ajmal (3-53) and Talha (3-65) were the wicket-takers.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Aslam Butt
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:18PM

    Just look at other news in the paper and we will see that this is the darkest time in Pakistan’s already not so bright history. If there ever was an existential threat to Pakistan then this is it. And in the midst of all that Misbah and team bring some sanity and some joy to the hapless people. For that they deserve our respect. Hope it give some motivation to our Govt to take the people of Pakistan along with them and save this country.Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:26PM

    finest run chase in modern history. Take a bow Azhar Ali, Misbah and Sarfraz. 195 in final session of a test match where ball was sinning and bouncing too. Simply WOW.Recommend

  • Malik Hamza
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:30PM

    We really are unpredictable.
    Pakistan Zindabad . Recommend

  • Truth_Prevails
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:33PM

    Great Victory Pakistan!Recommend

  • AK
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:33PM

    Congrats Team Pakistan !!!! Recommend

  • Jan 20, 2014 - 7:33PM

    Congratulations Pakistan – You pulled off an incredible, improbable victory to level the series. Well played Team Pakistan!

    Abdul Quddus
    DET-United States Central CommandRecommend

  • Murtaza
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:41PM

    Predictably the most unpredictable team!
    well done guys. Recommend

  • feroz
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:42PM

    Wow just wow….well played team PakistanRecommend

  • rajan
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:43PM

    Though I love visiting this site ofter to get a different perspective, I hardly ever leave comments.
    But this time, I really am moved to say: Very well done guys, U were awesome! Congratulations!Recommend

  • feroz
    Jan 20, 2014 - 7:56PM

    Angelo mattews’s tactics reminded me of Moin Khan against England in Karachi test.Recommend

  • farouqui
    Jan 20, 2014 - 8:20PM

    congrats .pk Recommend

  • Pathan
    Jan 20, 2014 - 8:26PM

    with no home cricket, mess and confusion in the board, no infrastructure in the country,,,, our Team has performed a miracle,, Zindabad Pakistan Recommend

  • MJ
    Jan 20, 2014 - 8:41PM

    In the process of winning our team also scored the fastest 300 plus runs in the history of test cricket. Misbah you beauty!!Recommend

  • Baba Ji
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:05PM

    Shabaash Pakistan !!!Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:14PM

    Srilanka got trolled! Srilanka pulled a Pakistan today by being ultra defensive and blocking ball after without even scoring a single run. Lankans played into Pakistan hands by trying to sit pretty and preserving their 1-0 lead at all costs.Recommend

  • Razi ul Haq
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:30PM

    BAD LIGHT: Sri Lankans cannot see this articleRecommend

  • Farooq
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:34PM

    If only the empty stands and stadium of Sharjah was actually a adrenaline packed stadium in Karachi or Lahore would this victory be as memorable as it should have been! Our boys showed great fight today and for that we all should be proud!Recommend

  • LOK
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:59PM

    Well done Pakistan. Performances like these are needed to keep the evil nexus of BCCI/ECB/CA at bay. Well done Azhar Ali. Recommend

  • Last Word
    Jan 20, 2014 - 10:19PM

    A silver lining over the dark clouds hovering over Pakistan. Recommend

  • Jan 20, 2014 - 10:55PM

    Misbah should join politics. :PRecommend

  • Pakistani Patriot
    Jan 20, 2014 - 10:56PM

    Today negative cricket lost and positive cricket won. Way to go Misbah and the team – you have made the entire country proud. Simply breathtaking!Recommend

  • Mehmood
    Jan 20, 2014 - 11:09PM

    Amazing effort! Fastest 300+ run chase in test history!Recommend

  • Karima Shah
    Jan 20, 2014 - 11:18PM

    Thank you Dav Whatmore for doing your best with the team. We won several ODI series including against South Africa under you, and while we did not win a test series, we managed to improve as a test team and pulled off some amazing wins. This win along with the test win over South Africa has to be one of the best. Thanks again and best of luck in future.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jan 21, 2014 - 7:39AM

    Misbah is not tuk-tuk. Misbah is Mr. Pakistan!

    Recommend

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