Though rain on the first four days meant a result would never be possible, centuries from Abid Ali and Babar Azam meant Test cricket’s return to Pakistan would be fondly remembered.
The day began with Sri Lanka 282/6 in the first innings of the game, the wet weather having allowed just 91.5 overs of play to take place across the first four days. Dhananjaya de Silva began on 87* and was allowed to add a further 15 runs to bring up his sixth Test century before Dimuth Karunaratne declared on 308/6.
Shan Masood fell tamely for a duck early on, mishitting a full toss to mid-off, but Azhar Ali and Abid steadied the ship, adding 87 for the second wicket. Though Azhar fell for 36 – still the second-highest score of a tough year for the top-order bat – Abid found another willing ally in Babar, and, with the pressure off, the two began to enjoy themselves.
Babar’s knock was particularly stroke-filled, his 128-ball 102* containing 14 fours, and he almost beat Abid to his century, with the latter noticeably slowing as he neared a memorable landmark on debut.
At 32 years old, he became the oldest Pakistani to complete a hundred in his maiden Test appearance, while he also completed a unique double, with his ton on ODI debut in March making him the only male player to make a century on Test and ODI debuts. England Women’s Enid Bakewell has also achieved the feat.
The sides shook hands with Pakistan on 252/2, meaning both took 20 World Test Championship points from the contest. It will be all to play for in the second and final game of the series which begins on 19 December at Karachi, with 60 World Test Championship points and bragging rights up for grabs.