Pakistan cricket fans have been waiting for the games to start again and the Test match that was recently held between Sri Lanka and Pakistan on home grounds marked an auspicious start of the same. Many remembered that it was about 10 years later that the Test match was being played on home soil. Most remember the events that occurred in Pakistan cricket in 2009 which led to the suspension of Test matches. It had been a Test match with Sri Lanka and their team bus had been attacked, policemen, as well as civilians, lost lives in the disruption.
However, having resolved all disputes and brought back the national game on home grounds is what fans are revealing about. And the beginning could not have been more right than having Sri Lanka come over and play as a testimony of their faith in their host country.
The First Match at Rawalpindi
The first match of the Test series was held in Rawalpindi. The public, as well as Pakistan Cricket Board or PCB, described the moment as a momentous one for the country as the game was announced open. It had come a full circle but the peaceful and successful start and finish of the Test match hopefully marked the opening of the nation to future matches with other countries.
The first-day game ended with a score of 202 for five on Sri Lanka’s side. The highlight of the game was Naseem Shah’s performance that is only 16 years of age and had been six years when the last test match had been held here. He took two wickets and made 51 runs as a fast bowler. He stated that it was akin to playing at home since the support was great. Indeed, the crowd was large; seeming that cricket fans from across the country had landed up to see the match.
Pakistan’s team was led by Azhar Ali the batsman and they are under pressure to perform, especially since the last game they played was against Australia that resulted in a loss. They played Test matches a month back and both Tests ended in the defeat of the Pakistan team. This particular Test being played on home ground, there was pressure for them to win it. Fans were loud as Mohammed Abbas marked the run and prepared for the first bowling start. Indeed, there were people from Rawalpindi as well as Islamabad who were for the game and many were climbing fences to get a better viewing point. There were even school kids who had been brought over to watch the match.
The host team was finally able to record a win of 263 runs. However, they were quick to thank the opponents for whom they had been able to play, to showcase local talents who had been waiting for the opportunity to come along. Azhar, on behalf of the team, stated that it was a moment of immense happiness for them, not only to have won but having Sri Lanka coming over in good faith to play again.
This Test series on home ground showcased the talents of Pakistan’s team, especially that of the four top-level batsmen. They were able to score centuries and in the same innings. The side required 14 minutes on the fifth day of the series to clinch a win. It resulted in a win of 1-0 after rain led to a draw in the match. Sri Lanka captain also issued a statement, stating that security was assured in the country and he urged other international countries to make plans accordingly. He stated that there was evidence of them enjoying themselves in the stay and while playing as well. It should be enough for others to reconsider.
This series made Pakistan the second team in the history of cricket to have four batsmen in top ranks to score a century within the same innings. Babar Azam, Azhar Ali, Abid Ali and Shan Masood were able to reach their tons by day four. It was also a highlight for showcasing skills of the country’s youngest fast bowler who got the chance to play this international match on home grounds.
Being a Test match after 10 years, the national heroes were certainly starved of a chance to showcase their skills and get back the spotlight on their career and skills, especially on home ground as well as in the international arena.