Awesome Azhar Ali: Revisiting his top five Test knocks


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Azhar Ali announced on Friday, 16 December, his decision to retire from Test cricket after the completion of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship series against England.

Azhar Ali has decided to call time on an incredible 12-year-long Test career, with the final match of the series against England in Karachi set to be his swansong. 

In the 96 matches that he has played so far, the 37-year-old has 7097 runs against his name, including 19 centuries and 35 fifties. During his career, he emerged as the batting mainstay for Pakistan and retires as their fifth-highest run-scorer in the longest format.

As Ali draws curtains on his Test career, we take a look back at his five best knocks for Pakistan:

302* v West Indies, Dubai (2016)

In just the second pink-ball Test to ever be played, Azhar Ali made history by becoming the first-ever triple centurion in day/night Tests.

Against a West Indies bowling attack that appeared toothless, Ali capitalized on familiar conditions and a flat batting track in Dubai and displayed utter domination with the bat. 

In an innings laced with 23 fours and two sixes, Ali tormented the bowlers and became the fourth Pakistani player ever to notch up a triple ton.

205* v Australia, Melbourne (2016)

Later the same year, Azhar Ali once again went into the history books by becoming the first-ever Pakistani player to score a double hundred in Australia and the first to do so in 32 years at the historic MCG.

Put in to bat first on the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Azhar Ali did the bulk of the heavy lifting, scoring almost half the runs in Pakistan's first innings. Opening the batting, he carried his bat and remained unbeaten on 205 as Pakistan declared on 443/9.

Unfortunately, the double ton came in a losing cause as Pakistan collapsed in the final innings and Australia emerged victors by an innings and 18 runs.

141* v England, Southampton (2020)

It was once again the case of Azhar Ali vs the opposition in the final Test of Pakistan's tour of England. 

Pakistan were under the pump after England put up 583/8 dec in the first innings. Batting one down, Azhar Ali walked to bat in the third over and in tricky conditions, managed to remain unbeaten. 

As the rest of the batters failed around him, he did find some support in Mohammad Rizwan with whom he stitched a 138-run stand. Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 273 and asked to follow on.

In the final innings, the rest of the Pakistan line-up held the fort, including Ali who batted for 114 balls for his 31, and forced a draw.

127 v West Indies, Roseau (2017)

The incredible final Test of the series in 2017 will be remembered for its nail-biting finish and as the swansong of two of Pakistan's greats in Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, but it was Azhar Ali's century in the first innings that laid the foundation for the memorable win.

Continuing his purple patch from 2016, Ali batted for eight hours for his 334-ball 127 and made the West Indies bowlers and fielders toil. Pakistan posted 376 on the back of his gritty innings, which eventually fetched them a valuable lead of 129 runs.

The bowlers weaved their magic in the two innings to script one of the most memorable victories in Pakistan's Test history.  

103 v Sri Lanka, Dubai (2014)

Azhar Ali has always been known to play the strong anchor, but during his century against Sri Lanka in the final Test in Dubai, he also showed that he can up the ante when required.

Needing to chase down 309 in 59 overs in the fourth innings, Pakistan had no option but to go for the kill as they were 1-0 down in the series. Playing against time, Azhar Ali stroked an incredible 103 off 137 balls, stitching important partnerships with Sarfaraz Ahmed and Misbah-ul-Haq. 

Though he departed with around 10 overs remaining, he did his job as Misbah hit the winning runs and took Pakistan home with nine overs to spare.


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