Pakistan Commences ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 with a Thrilling Four-Wicket Victory over Sri Lanka

Babar Azam’s Heroics Propel Pakistan to a Thrilling Victory in ICC World Test Championship

Date: 20th July 2023

In an exhilarating start to the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship, Babar Azam-led Pakistan clinched a thrilling victory, defeating Sri Lanka by four wickets on the final day of the first Test match at the iconic Galle International Stadium in Galle.

The hard-fought win puts Pakistan one step ahead in the two-Test series against the hosts, setting the stage for an exciting showdown in the second and final Test at the revered Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo on 24th July.

Resuming their second innings with 83 runs to win at the overnight score of 48 for three, Babar Azam, Pakistan’s captain, showcased his determination from the outset. He quickly struck two boundaries in the opening over of the morning, making his intentions clear to the opposition. The skipper continued his elegant strokeplay, adding two more boundaries before eventually being adjudged leg-before wicket to Prabath Jayasuriya after contributing 24 runs off 28 balls, embellished with five fours.

At 79 for four, the pressure was palpable, but opener Imam-ul-Haq and the first-innings double centurion Saud Shakeel joined forces to resurrect the Pakistani innings. The duo weaved a crucial 43-run partnership for the fifth wicket before Saud Shakeel (30, 38 balls, 6 fours) departed, falling victim to Ramesh Mendis in the 30th over.

With just five runs needed to secure victory, Pakistan experienced a minor hiccup when Sarfaraz Ahmed (1, 10 balls) was dismissed. However, enter Salman Ali Agha, whose swashbuckling style saw him smash a colossal six off the first ball he faced, sealing a glorious triumph for his team.

Imam-ul-Haq played a pivotal role, staying unbeaten with an impressive half-century (50 off 84 balls), including four fours and one six, providing the much-needed stability throughout the chase.

Sri Lanka’s Prabath Jayasuriya emerged as the standout performer with the ball, claiming four wickets in the second innings and completing a remarkable tally of seven wickets in the match.

Brief Scores (Day 5 of 5):

Sri Lanka: 312 all out, 95.2 overs (Dhananjaya de Silva 122, Angelo Mathews 64, Sadeera Samarawickrama 36, Dimuth Karunaratne 29; Abrar Ahmed 3-68, Shaheen Shah Afridi 3-86, Naseem Shah 3-90, Salman Ali Agha 1-18) and 279 all out, 83.1 overs (Dhananjaya de Silva 82, Nishan Madushka 52, Ramesh Mendis 42, Dinesh Chandimal 28; Noman Ali 3-75, Abrar Ahmed 3-68, Salman Ali Agha 2-39, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-64)

Pakistan: 461 all out, 121.2 overs (Saud Shakeel 208 not out, Salman Ali Agha 83, Shan Masood 39, Noman Ali 25; Ramesh Mendis 5-136, Prabath Jayasuriya 3-145) and 133-6, 32.5 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 50 not out, Saud Shakeel 30, Babar Azam 24; Prabath Jayasuriya 4-56)

Player of the Match: Saud Shakeel (Pakistan)

With this enthralling victory under their belt, Pakistan’s cricketing prowess shines bright, and they are eager to replicate their winning form in the forthcoming Test at Colombo. As cricket enthusiasts await the battle between bat and ball, the stage is set for another riveting chapter in the ICC World Test Championship.

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