Pakistan consolidate top spot in WTC25 standings following series sweep over Sri Lanka
Pakistan commenced their WTC25 campaign on a solid note, having registered an away series victory against Sri Lanka in the two-match series.
They sealed a dominant innings-and-222-runs win in Colombo as Noman Ali starred with the ball to bowl out the hosts, in their second outing with the bat, for 188. Noman headlined the Day 4 action with sizzling innings figures of 7/70 while Abdullah Shafique was the star with the bat for making 201 which won him the Player of the Match award.
With this series sweep, Pakistan have further consolidated their top spot in the WTC25 standings. Babar Azam's men have earned 24 points in two wins (12 points for each Test), with 100 percent while India, who are now No.2 on the list have 16 points (66.67%) following their 1-0 series win over West Indies.
Earlier, Pakistan resumed Day 4 on 563/5 and declared the innings as soon as Sarfaraz Ahmed's concussion replacement Mohammad Rizwan brought up his half-century in the second over of the day. The visitors declared on 576/5 with a massive first innings lead of 410.
Sri Lanka were wiped out for a paltry 166 in the first innings with Pakistan spinner Abrar Ahmed leading the Pakistan attack with an impressive 4/69. The hosts had a mountain to climb with two entire days' play remaining.
The Sri Lanka openers provided their side with a steady start with a 69-run stand, which turned out to be their highest partnership of the second innings. Noman Ali drew the first blood for Pakistan, bowling Nishan Madushka out for 33. Sri Lanka went to lunch on 81/1.
After the break, Noman struck in his first over of the afternoon session. This wicket sparked a Sri Lankan collapse as their line-up started to crumble. Noman's second victim of the day was another set batter, the Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who made a long walk back to the pavilion for 41.
The onus was on the experienced duo of Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews who started working on the rebuilding job. However, Pakistan spinner Noman had other plans. He ran through Sri Lanka with two wickets in his two overs. He first had Kusal caught for 14 and followed that up with Dinesh Chandimal's early dismissal in his next over.
Noman added three more wickets to his tally and Mathews remained stranded at one end, with wickets tumbling from the other. The 36-year-old left-arm spinner finished with a career-best spell of 7/70.
Naseem Shah wrapped up the Lankans by claiming the final three wickets - all bowled dismissals. The pacer finished with match figures of 6/85.