Quick chases and Sri Lanka's third-Test woes
Stats highlights from an incredible third Test in Sharjah, where Pakistan pulled off one of their best run-chases to level the series
- Pakistan's total of 302 is their second-highest fourth-innings score in a Test win, next only to the 315 for 9 they scored against Australia in Karachi in 1994, when they recovered from a first-innings deficit of 81 to win by one wicket. That wasn't such a straightforward win, though: needing 314 to win, Pakistan had slipped to 258 for 9, before Inzamam-ul-Haq combined with Mushtaq Ahmed to add 57 for the last wicket. Inzamam remained unbeaten on 58 in that game; here, Misbah-ul-Haq was not out on 68.
- Not only did Pakistan have to score more than 300 in their fourth innings, they had only 59 overs to score the runs in. They achieved their target in 57.3, at a run rate of 5.25. That rate is easily Pakistan's best in a fourth innings in which they have scored at least 175; their previous-best was 4.73, when they scored 296 in 62.3 overs against West Indies in Barbados in 2005. However, that was in a losing cause - West Indies won that Test by 276 runs. Their previous-best run rate in a winning cause in the fourth innings - with a 175-run cut-off - was 4.22, when they scored 183 in 43.2 overs against Sri Lanka in Kandy in 2006.
- This is also the highest run rate by any team for a fourth-innings total of more than 205. With a 200-run cut-off, there are two instances of better scoring rates, both by England: they scored 205 in 35.3 overs (rate 5.77) against South Africa at The Oval in 1994 to win by eight wickets. Like this game, that was also the third and last Test of the series, and England's win helped them draw the series 1-1. Against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 1996, faced with a target of 205 to win, they scored 204 for 6 in 37 (rate 5.51), which meant the Test ended as a draw with scores level.
- Pakistan's effort rivalled some of the quickest scoring seen in fourth innings of Tests, but Sri Lanka's second-innings effort was one of their slowest. They scored 214 in 101.4 overs, a run rate of 2.10; the last time they batted 80 or more overs and scored at a slower rate was 16 years ago, in December 1997, when they scored 166 in 82 overs against India.
- Sri Lanka's defeat further established a worrying trend for them - of starting a series strongly, but gradually declining as the series goes along. In their entire Test history, they have a 28-23 win-loss record in the first Test of a series (excluding one-off Tests), a win-loss ratio of 1.21; in the second Test, the record drops to a still acceptable 26-32 (ratio 0.81), but in third Tests, the fall is alarming: in 47 matches, they have won only nine and lost 19, a ratio of 0.47. In their last 11 third Tests, dating back to July 2009, Sri Lanka have lost five and drawn six; the last time they won a third Test was in August 2008 in Colombo, when they beat India by eight wickets to take the series 2-1. Since then they have lost twice to India, and once each against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.
- Azhar Ali's century was the first by a Pakistan No. 3 batsman since July 2012, when he had scored 136 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele. Since that Test and before this one, Pakistan's No. 3 batsmen had averaged 21.58 in 18 innings, easily the lowest among all teams during this period.
- Rangana Herath leaked 100 runs in 19 overs, an economy rate of 5.26 per over; it's the fifth highest by a bowler who has conceded 100 or more runs in the fourth innings of a Test. The worst is Robin Peterson's 127 runs in 20 overs against Australia in Perth in 2012, but that didn't hurt South Africa much because they won the Test by 309 runs, and Peterson also took three wickets, including those of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. The second-worst is Ian Botham's 117 in 20.1 overs at Lord's in 1984, when Gordon Greenidge destroyed England with an unbeaten 214 as West Indies chased down 342 in 66.1 overs. Herath's effort is only the fifth instance of a Sri Lankan bowler conceding 100 or more in the fourth innings, and easily the most expensive of the five. There are only five instances of Sri Lankan bowlers having poorer economy rates when conceding 100 or more in any innings.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter
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