Pakistan seem to have made a habit of losing close Test matches from positions of victory or survival.
West Indies squeezed through a Pakistan seam-bowling onslaught to eke out a famous Test victory on Sunday evening in Kingston. During the dying moments of the match, the momentum drifted to and fro between the two sides. Despite bowling exceptionally well to come back roaring into the contest and peg the hosts against the wall, Pakistan couldn’t step across the victory line and lost by one wicket.
In recent years, Pakistan have ended up on the wrong side of things quite a few times where they were unable to put the finishing touches to close encounters. The images of Pakistan fielders sinking to their knees and staring blankly at the treacherous turf to one Pakistan tailender consoling another after what could have been an epic rearguard to defy the Kiwis in Mount Maunganui still flicker in front of Pakistan cricket fans’ eyes.
Now Kingston has added its share to this ever-lengthening reel of what feels like a horror film to them. In this article, we, with sorrow-laden eyes, take a glimpse at some of the recent heartbreaks for Pakistan in Test cricket.
Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi (2017)
Pakistan’s first-ever Test defeat in Abu Dhabi was a nerve-racking one. To this day, Pakistan cricket fans inquire, amidst undertones of agony, that how did it really transpire? A game that was heading down to a dull draw till halfway through Day 4 suddenly sprang to life and winded up in the most dramatic fashion.
On the final morning, Pakistan’s bowlers trudged out all-guns-blazing and bundled out the visitors for 138 – effectively setting a target of only 136 runs for themselves. In their last red-ball meeting with Sri Lanka, Pakistan managed to successfully hunt down a mammoth total of 377 runs, so there was that.
What followed in the next 90 minutes, however, was utterly catastrophic as the hosts lost their top five for just 36 runs. Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haris Sohail strung together a handy partnership of 42 runs before the Sri Lankan spinners ran riot through the lower order. Rangana Herath was, once again, the chief destroyer, ravaging Pakistan with his 6/43 and becoming the first-ever left-arm spinner to reach 400 Test wickets in the process. Pakistan were mortified in their adopted backyard and folded for 114 runs, losing by 21 runs.