Pakistan's Thrilling Win & Test Cricket's Capacity For Drama
Test cricket has the capacity, like no other form of the game, to produce extended periods of high drama that leave you on the edge of your seat. We saw plenty of that today as Pakistan chased down 302 to beat Sri Lanka.
It's been a superb series. Pakistan were on top in the opening game in Abu Dhabi only for Sri Lanka, through Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal to fight back and earn a draw.
They capitalised on that momentum shift to win in Dubai and for much of the game in Sharjah, looked as if they would clinch the draw they needed to win the series.
But in the last four sessions of the game, Pakistan fought back, dismissing Sri Lanka for 214 in their second innings (the often pivotal third of the game) and then brilliantly chased down 302 with just nine balls remaining.
Sri Lanka were up to all sorts trying to delay the game but good on the umpires for having none of it. Mathews was even threatened with a five-run penalty for time-wasting, which would have been an embarrassing way to lose the match.
As it was, all credit to Misbah-ul-Haq, who remains one of the most under-rated cricketers in the world. He continues to inspire a Pakistan team that still plays no cricket at home and more often than not, when a run chase is on, your barometer of whether Pakistan are in with a shout is whether Misbah is in or not.
Today, however, there were other heroes. Azhar Ali's fifth Test century was perhaps hit best and Sarfraz Ahmed, Pakistan's second choice wicket-keeper, played a vital role with an important cameo to keep the run chase alive.
Here are some of my favourite reactions immediately following the game on Twitter, from current and former players involved with both sides:
Well done boys??????mubarik Pak.— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) January 20, 2014
Test cricket at its best! Well done both the teams #PAKvsSL— Farveez Maharoof (@farveezmaharoof) January 20, 2014
What a come back by the Pakistan team.I was glued to the tv on the edge of my seat for the last hour!Well done boys,awesome effort#pakistan— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) January 20, 2014
Congratulations Pakistan! What an historical win Special knock by Azhar ali, Misbah and Sarfaraz. #PakVsl— Azhar Mahmood (@AzharMahmood11) January 20, 2014
As usual edge of the seat stuff from Pakistan cricket. So great to see the boys do so well and especially the younger ones.— Azhar Mahmood (@AzharMahmood11) January 20, 2014
Absolutely thrilled and proud for the boys. They really had to do it the hard way. Thank you for the best gift possible!— Dav Whatmore (@dfwhatmore) January 20, 2014
© Cricket World 2014