Babar Azam showcased why he has become world cricket’s most sensational batsman producing a typical captain’s knock of 119 to pull Pakistan out of the doldrums of 7 for 85 to the respectability of 218, just 4 runs behind Sri Lanka’s 222 on an eventful second day of the World Test Championship at the Galle International Stadium when the host team’s slow left arm orthodox wonder boy Prabath Jayasuriya threatened to rip through the side ending with figures of 5 for 82. The greatness of Azam’s brilliant 244-ball knock containing 11 boundaries and 2 sixes was the meteoric tightrope treading battling against the odds to even salvaging.
Sri Lanka led overall by 40 having closed the day on 36 for the loss of skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s wicket LBW for 16 to Mohammad Nawaz. (PARA 3) The Pakistani skipper who surged a sensation in a short span of his cricket career overshadowing India’s Virat Kohli in the top bracket run race, did typically exemplify why he is such a world great by walking the walk under duress.
That Babar Azam won the day for Pakistan from the knife thin edge of batting his way to a team redeeming stellar three figure mark, his seventh test ton, was best personified by the tightrope of doing just that with the tail. He put on 36 for the ninth wicket with Hasan Ali who made made 17 off 21, and the bulk of 70 for the last wicket with Naseem Shah who was unbeaten on 15 off 52 when the Pakistani skipper was last out LBW to Maheesh Theekshana.
CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 222 (Dinesh Chandimal 76, Oshada Fernando 39, Maheesh Theekshana 38, Kasun Rajitha n.o. 12, Shah Afridi 4/58) Pakistan 218 (90.5 Overs) (Babar Azam 119, Yasir Shah 18, Hasan Ali 17, Naseem Shah n.o. 15, Prabath Jayasuriya 5/82, Ramesh Mendis 2/18,.Maheesh Theekshana 2/68, Kasun Rajitha 1/42).