Pakistan climb to third spot in World Test Championship table

Babar Azam's team chase down record target of 342 to win Galle Test against Sri Lanka

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Pakistan enjoyed an unforgettable day at the Galle Stadium on Wednesday, sealing a record win in the first Test against Sri Lanka and also climbing up the World Test Championship table.

Opener Abdullah Shafique hit an unbeaten 160 as Pakistan chased down a target of 342 to win the first Test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday by four wickets.

Left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya picked up nine wickets in the match but could not stop Babar Azam's team from overhauling the previous best chase in Galle of 268 by Sri Lanka against New Zealand in 2019.

Shafique starred in crucial partnerships including a 101-run third-wicket stand with skipper Azam, who made 55 after his 119 in the first innings, made in the company of tailenders.

The win not only gave the visitors a lead in the two-match series but also saw them overtake India and move into third position in the ICC World Test Championship table.

The way the table is structured, teams are ranked according to the percentage of points won in each series. Australia have the best record in this cycle, winning six Tests and losing just once but South Africa are on top of the table as they have a better ratio of points won from total available points in a series. A team gets 12 points for winning a Test, four for a draw and six for a tie.

This system was created to ensure teams like Australia, England and India, who regularly play four and five-match series, don't end up garnering more points than others by default.

Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Azam said Shafique has the technique and temperament to rise to the top of Test cricket.

The 22-year-old batted for just under nine hours and five sessions against a spin attack led by the in-form Jayasuriya.

"As a youngster, when you prove yourself and perform in tough conditions and difficult tracks, then it's good," Azam said.

"His confidence was high after performing against Australia so he was on a different level. And to perform against quality bowling, your confidence goes up higher.

"The way he plays, so clean and with his focus, he will get many, many more such knocks. I hope that he becomes one of the best openers in the world."

Updated: July 20, 2022, 1:01 PM