On a typical Galle pitch that had assistance for the spinners, Pakistan and Sri Lanka squared off for the first test of the two-match series. The visitors had a horrendous start in the first innings where they came falling like nine pins and were at the mercy of the Lankan bowlers.
However, the silver lining came from their talismanic skipper and star batter Babar Azam, who showed his skills and class on a pitch that was going to turn more on every passing day. The right-hander was a class apart and played a brilliant knock of 119 runs to get Pakistan to just four runs short of the hosts’ total (222 all-out).
The Lahore player became the fastest batter from Asia and eleventh overall from his country to cross 10,000 runs in international cricket on Sunday as he scored a remarkable century. In the process, the Pakistan top-order batter also equalled the record of Inzamam-ul-Haq of scoring nine centuries as the captain of Pakistan.
The 27-year-old took only 70 innings to score these nine centuries, while Inzamam-ul-Haq took 131 innings. Former captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored nine centuries in a total of 189 innings. The current Pakistan captain is now also the fastest batter from Asia to get 10,000 runs in international cricket, going past the previous record set by talismanic India batsman Virat Kohli in 232 innings. As for his innings in the ongoing first Test against Sri Lanka, he was well supported by Naseem Shah, who ensured that he didn’t lose his wicket. This enabled Azam to get to his hundred.
The former Pakistan U19 player stated – “Naseem Shah played a tremendous inning in Galle Test which became a source of confidence for me as well. This is actually what is required! Play for your team and give your hundred percent”
The two joined together when the scorecard was reading 148-9 and were there until Babar Azam was the last man out when the score was at 218.
Amongst all Pakistan batters to reach the 10,000 runs mark in international cricket, Babar is the fastest to reach the landmark in 228 innings, surpassing the previous record of 248 innings held by legendary batter Javed Miandad.
Meanwhile, in the match, no one else could provide support to Babar Azam by staying at the crease because they kept getting out. The Pakistani skipper found an able ally in fast bowler Naseem Shah who unleashed his defensive game and blocked for 51 out of the 52 balls he faced and ended up scoring only 5 runs in that entire innings