Monday 20 January 2014 

Pakistan's Thrilling Win & Test Cricket's Capacity For Drama

Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali played a superb innings as Pakistan chased down 302 to beat Sri Lanka in Sharjah - the final day showcasing some of the best (and worst) of Test cricket
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

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:

© Cricket World 2014

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