Pakistan draw series in thrilling finish

Azhar Ali scores 103 as Pakistan win the third and final Test against Sri Lanka in Sharjah and square series 1-1.

    Despite the Test win, Pakistan are yet to win a Test series since January 2012 [AFP]
    Despite the Test win, Pakistan are yet to win a Test series since January 2012 [AFP]

    Azhar Ali hit a superb century as Pakistan notched a thrilling five-wicket victory against Sri Lanka by scoring a rapid 302-5 in the third Test to square the series 1-1.

    Ali blazed 103 off 137 balls with six fours and captain Misbah-ul-Haq remained unbeaten on 68 off 72 balls as Pakistan romped home with nine balls remaining on the last day for its second best run chase in Test matches.

    Fifth day scorecard

    Sri Lanka first innings 428
    Pakistan first innings 341
    Sri Lanka second innings 214
    Pakistan second innings

    K Manzoor c Prasanna b Lakmal 21
    A Shehzad c Karunaratne b Lakmal 21
    A Ali c Prasanna b Lakmal 103
    Y Khan c Sangakkara b Mathews 29
    S Ahmed c Prasanna b Eranga 48
    M Haq not out 68
    A Shafiq not out 1

    Extras: (b 6, lb 1, w 3, nb 1) 11 
    Total: (5 wickets; 57.3 overs) 302

    Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-48, 3-97, 4-186, 5-295

    In Pakistan's only other successful run chase of more than 300 runs, it defeated Australia by one wicket in 1994 in Karachi while chasing 314.

    Ali shredded Sri Lanka's bowlers and set up the chase with a run-a-ball 89 for the fourth wicket stand with Sarfraz Ahmed (48) before putting on a match-winning 109 off 119 balls with Misbah.

    Earlier, Prasanna Jayawardene made an aggressive 49 before Sri Lanka was bowled out for 214 for an overall lead of 301 and left Pakistan with 59 overs to get victory.

    Sri Lanka won the second Test by nine wickets after the first Test was drawn.

    "We were one-down in the series and everyone thought we should go for the chase," Misbah said.

    "Even when they scored 400-plus in the first-innings, everyone was positive and even with this 300-run  target, we knew we could go for it and get the win."

    Pakistan needed 195 in the last 35 overs after Suranga Lakmal (3-79) had removed openers and reduced Pakistan to 107-3 by tea.

    Ahmed justified his promotion ahead of Misbah and turned the tide in favor of Pakistan by not even sparing ace spinner Rangana Herath (0-100) on a very flat pitch.

    Ahmed departed in the 37th over when he gloved a legside catch off Shaminda Eranga but Misbah continued to push the accelerator as Sri Lanka's bowlers had no answer to stop the Pakistan batsmen from scoring at a brisk pace.

    Ali raised his century off 133 balls but edged Lakmal under fading light with Pakistan needing only seven runs for victory as Misbah hit the winning run in the next over off Eranga.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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