Pakistan A swept to a remarkable eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka A in Worcester, riding on the back of belligerent half-centuries from captain Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel to mow down a target of 148 in 19.1 overs, with time running out on the final day. With a maximum of 23 overs to chase down the target, Pakistan went for the win right from the outset. They were reduced to 37 for 2 in the fifth over as Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Nawaz both fell to new-ball bowler Vishwa Fernando in the quest for quick runs. But Azam (66 not out) and Shakeel (51 not out) then combined for an unbeaten partnership of 111 off 86 balls, hitting eight fours and three sixes between them to complete a thrilling chase.
Babar Azman of Pakistan in another site (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images) ….
Pakistan A 461 for 8 dec (Shakeel 86, Hasan 73, De Silva 2-28) and 148 for 2 (Azam 66*, Shakeel 51*, Fernando 2-38) beat Sri Lanka A 250 (Silva 57, Hamza 4-62) and 358 (De Silva 88, Hasan Ali 4-67, Shadab Khan 4-89) by eight wickets
Pakistan’s task could have been easier but for Sri Lanka’s stubborn tenth-wicket partnership in the second innings. Half-centuries from opener Dhananjaya de Silva (88) and captain Ashan Priyanjan (66) had taken them to 309 for 9, before Minod Bhanuka, who scored an unbeaten 54, and Asitha Fernando combined for a 49-run stand that kept Pakistan’s bowlers at bay for 7.3 overs. When Fernando, who contributed just 2, finally perished to give right-arm medium pacer Hasan Ali his fourth wicket of the innings and seventh of the match, Sri Lanka were all out for 358 to set up the pulsating climax.
Pakistan’s stranglehold of the match, however, had been established in the first innings. After Sri Lanka opted to bat, Mir Hamza (4 for 62) and Hasan (3 for 70) inflicted the bulk of the damage to bowl the side out for 250, with only Roshen Silva (57) and Udara Jayasundera (53) registering fifties. Pakistan responded by piling on 461 for 8 before declaring. Most of their batsman made solid contributions, with Shakeel top-scoring with 86.
Battling a first-innings deficit of 211, Sri Lanka never really managed to claw back. Coming into the final day two down for 83 and still 128 behind, any hopes Sri Lanka may have had of saving the match came crashing down, thanks to a spirited effort from Pakistan.